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SOMALIA: Call to help neglected IDPs

NAIROBI, 13 September 2007 (IRIN) - Civil society organisations in Somalia have urged aid agencies to help at least 2,500 displaced families who have sought refuge in the northern outskirts of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

"We are appealing to the aid agencies operating in the country, particularly to the United Nations, to come to the assistance of these people," Madina Mahamud Ilmi, the deputy head of a civil society taskforce for the displaced, told IRIN on 13 September by telephone from Mogadishu.

Ilmi said the 15,000 people, who fled the violence in Mogadishu and sought refuge on the northern outskirts of the city, are in desperate need of assistance. "Their situation can only be described as going from bad to worse."

Zahra Mohamed Ali, a 47-year-old mother of seven, who arrived in an IDP camp in Ceel Ma'an , 35km north of Mogadishu, in early August, said: "We are running out of food. If we don’t get something soon I don’t know what we will do."

She said the displaced were helping each other by sharing what little they had. "Those with something left are sharing with those who have nothing."

The displaced are scattered in the villages of Galgalato, Dharkeyno, Burbishaaro, Ceel Ade and Ceel Ma'an in the north of the city and are reportedly running out of food, according to Abdi Hassan, the deputy chairman of the Ceel Ma'an committee.

"Saacid [a local NGO] distributed a seven-day ration 15 days ago. That is the last food distribution we have seen," he said.

He said the displaced, mostly women and children, urgently needed shelter, food, water and medicine; more people were arriving daily.

A local journalist told IRIN those who settled in the northern areas of Mogadishu after fleeing unrest in the city had been somewhat neglected. "Unfortunately more attention has been paid to the more numerous IDPs [internally displaced persons] who moved to the south [of the city].”

"WFP [UN World Food Programme] has just finalised distribution plans and will soon start relief food distributions in the four districts of Middle Shabelle region - Warshiekh, Balad, Jowhar and Mahaday," Said Warsame, WFP Somalia Information Officer, told IRIN.

"One month’s rations will be provided to vulnerable people and the host community," he added. WFP will provide 3,000 tonnes of food to 190,000 people in the region.

Ilmi said the biggest need was food and shelter material. She said water and sanitation needed to be addressed urgently.

Since intense fighting between Ethiopian-backed government troops and insurgents began in February, at least 1,000 people reportedly have been killed and more than 400,000 displaced.




Copyright © IRIN 2007
This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States.
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