Relief efforts in Somalia have been crippled by widespread looting and violence directed toward relief workers and relief supplies. Armed gunmen prey upon beneficiaries of distributions of blankets and other non-food supplies. The areas covered by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are restricted by these security constraints as adequate supplies to cover all the needs cannot be brought in at once. The most experienced relief agencies in the world are working in Somalia, many of them with superior staff with long experience in relief under difficult situations: Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Angola, Mozambique, Liberia, to mention only a few. The NGOs expatriate staffs are adequate for the size of programs now being administered. All NGOs employ large number of Somalis who have prior experience in relief operations. Many also speak English. A large pool of talented water, sanitation, irrigation, and agriculture engineers are also available and have been tapped by NGOs.
There are over 300 expatriated NGO workers in Southern Somali programs. NGOs have had difficulty recruiting staff for the Somalia emergency and express confidence that immediately upon security being restored, they will be able to increase staff quickly (about two weeks) to respond to expanded needs. Likewise, when the hiring of technical and security guards is no longer needed, NGOs will see an immediate increase in disposable funds for program implementation.
NGOs make strenuous efforts to understand the clan system and to ensure that resources are fairly distributed. Any neglect of this factor results in the death threats, looting, and other types of non-cooperation. NGOs, therefore, should be consulted for guidance and advice on selection of sites for every type of assistance.
NGOs have a long-term commitment to Somalia, as does the United Nations. Many of the NGOs now working there have been involved with programs in this region since the 1980s. They will remain long after the military has gone, and will have to deal with any negative attitudes that develop as a result of any misstep made by the military. Again, it is crucial to include the United Nation and NGOs in all planning that takes place in Somalia. NGO representatives should be included in all daily briefings.
Following is a list of some of the relief organizations participating in the Somalia relief effort:
Friends Service Committee
Without Borders, USA
the Children Fund
World Food Program DC-1
Appendix B: Mine Threat
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|