UNCT Somalia Monitor: 18 September - 1 October [19991006]

UNCT Somalia Monitor: 18 September - 1 October [19991006]

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Source: UN Coordination Unit for Somalia



" What's new ? " Updates by region: Central and South; Northeast; Northwest " Political Update " Security Update and Advisories


Marches for Peace

Tens of thousands of Somalis gathered in major towns and cities, including Mogadishu, in a concerted attempt to put peace and national reconciliation back on the agenda. This sign of popular support amongst Somali civil society is also seen as endorsement of the recent proposals put forward by the President of Djibouti who is advocating for a national reconciliation conference, comprising representative members, but excluding all those associated with violence, namely the warlords.

Killing of Humanitarian Workers

There has been a spate of killings over the past few months in southern and central Somalia, including three humanitarian aid workers, Dr Kassim Egal of WHO, Mr. Farah Ali Adan of MEMISA, and Dr. Ayub Sheikh Yerow of UNICEF. As public reaction against the killings heightened, a number of rallies were held on Friday 24 September to commemorate the deaths of the aid workers and to protest against the continuation of violence in many areas in southern and central Somalia. Rallies were held in Baidoa, Mogadishu, Jowhar, Bossaso and Hargeisa in Somalia. In Nairobi, a peaceful march and prayers were held at UN complex in Gigiri. In light of the killing of Dr Ayub of UNICEF on 15 September, UN agencies suspended activities until a number of steps were taken. These included local authorities taking action to apprehend those responsible, communities showed a commitment to the security of humanitarian workers, and agencies had a chance to review the security system. The Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB), comprising UN agencies, donors and international NGOs, on 23 September, issued a statement saying it was "appalled" by the killing and recommended the discontinuance of aid activities "in the area where the murder took place" until the same three issues were addressed.

The UN resumed aid activities on 28 September, following indications from clan elders and civic groups that there was a clear determination to meet the conditions presented to them for establishing a safe environment for humanitarian workers.


About 510,000 persons in southern and central Somalia in need of assistance

On 16 June 1999, the Food Security Assessment Unit issued an early warning that poor rainfall during the gu season had resulted in low crop and livestock production. Due to the consequent impact on individual access to food, due to less availability and higher prices, the FSAU estimated that some 1.2 million persons were at-risk to severe food shortages. Over the last three months the FSAU, in conjunction with partner agencies, has been able to obtain a more accurate picture of how people are surviving and how many are vulnerable and in need of external assistance.

Due to the cumulative impact of a decade of conflict, compounded by several seasons of below normal crop and livestock production, and the degradation of civil and productive infrastructure there has been a chronic depletion of resources and capacities to cope. The 1998 gu crop production was the lowest this decade. Household food stocks and livestock assets had already been extensively drawn upon before this year's harvest. Crop and livestock failure in 1998 had forced households to the market to buy more food, at a time when income levels had already been eroded. This pattern is therefore being repeated again this year, but from a lower resource base and when prices are increasing.

Given the levels of chronic and acute vulnerability, characterised by below normal crop and livestock production, asset depletion, food price inflation, and the lack of income generating opportunities, the ability of many households to cope by their own means alone is in serious doubt. To do so, their asset levels will become increasingly depleted leaving them with little left to withstand even the smallest 'shock'.

Particular indicators which point to the worsening situation include: increase in cereal prices (50-100% above normal); increase in milk prices (100% + above normal); decrease in livestock prices (15-25% below normal); below normal water availability and poor economic opportunities. Confirming this analysis has been a series of nutritional surveys conducted by CARE and UNICEF in Gedo, Bay and Bakol. Global malnutrition rates for under-5 children of 21 %, 24 % and 28 % were recorded by UNICEF in Baidoa, Xudur and Burhakaba towns respectively. CARE recorded similar results in Gedo and rural areas in Bay. What is surprising about these cumulative indicators is that they exist at this time of year - post-gu harvest - which is normally the most abundant time of year in Somalia.

According to estimates, there are about 510,000 persons are in need of external assistance. Of these 300,000 reside in Bay and Bakol and 90,000 in Gedo, the most affected regions. Projected food requirements for this vulnerable population total about 16,000 Mts for the 9 regions of southern and central Somalia until the end of the year. However, it is recognised that aid agencies need to formulate a series of integrated interventions, also comprising water access, health and nutritional components, in order to save and support livelihoods. It is feared that unless immediate interventions are not forthcoming there will be mass population movements and loss of livelihoods in the coming months. There is a particular need to prevent a crisis from occurring by way of external assistance as the climate forecast for the November deyr rains is that they will probably be below normal. Therefore, there will be little opportunity for households to regenerate their own livelihoods, by way of crop or livestock production.

Humanitarian Interventions

Subject to the recent deterioration in security conditions, aid agencies have mounted relief interventions to respond to the emerging crisis in southern and central Somalia. Food agencies, including WFP, CARE, Bread for the World, and ICRC have commenced food relief and food for work programmes. Other agencies, including FAO, World Vision, ICRC and CARE have also commenced seeds programmes to ensure that at-risk families are able to profit from the deyr season, (which usually accounts for about 25% of the annual harvest). In addition, other agencies such as IMC, UNICEF, Adra, World Vision and ICRC are supporting the rehabilitation of water sources, and strengthening health and supplementary feeding programmes.

Joint Assessments

A number of agencies, including WFP, CARE, UNICEF, IMC and FSAU, led by the UN Coordination Unit, conducted a joint assessment of Bay and Bakol to obtain a better picture of humanitarian conditions in the two regions and to facilitate joint integrated interventions. This was the first exercise of its kind in two years. In light of its success, it is anticipated that other such assessments will be conducted in other at-risk regions, starting with Gedo.

Mission of UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator

A mission led by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia visited the Bay and Bakool regions in Southern Somalia. Accompanying the mission were members of the SACB, UNICEF and the NGO Consortium. The mission was able to link up with the joint assessment being conducted in the two regions. In inter-action with the local authority, the mission noted that aid assistance could not be guaranteed due to "competition" from other crises around the world. It also stressed the need for a secure environment for humanitarian operations, the need for accountability as a condition for provision of humanitarian and development assistance, and the need for Somali contribution and participation.


In Northeast Somalia, worsening humanitarian conditions in some areas have been aggravated by lack of rain,. This has severely affected livestock, the mainstay of livelihoods in the region. Water shortages are being reported, and some displacement and signs of malnutrition have been observed. The SACB Steering Committee has endorsed a proposal by the UNCU to review the humanitarian situation in Puntland in Nairobi on 14 October 1999. The review meeting will prepare the ground for a more comprehensive exercise in Puntland to review the February - June 1999 drought response. It is envisaged that this field-Nairobi process will ensure effective preparedness for Puntland. In the water sector, four water management workshops were undertaken in Puntland, through the SACB Water Sectoral Committee in close partnership with the Puntland Administration. These led to an agreement establishing a water task force in Garowe. The initiative is currently being taken up by the Puntland administration, with a view to implementation in the next two months.


On 22 and 23 September, Mr. Randolph Kent, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, travelled to Hargeisa for a brief introductory trip to meet with the Somaliland authorities, UN and NGO representatives based there. He was introduced to senior government officials by Mr. David Stephen, Representative of the Secretary General and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia. The visit was organised by Mr. Dan Lewis, UN Focal Point in Hargeisa and Manager of the UNDP/Habitat Project that builds capacities in Municipal administrations. Mr. Kent expressed his appreciation for the progress made by the people in rebuilding their own lives after years of war. He also was pleased to announce an improvement in the official UN security classification of Galbeed region, from Phase 4 to Phase 3. He underlined that he was part of a larger team from the UN and the international community interested in working toward a better future for all, and that he felt it most important for him, at this stage of his assignment, to do much listening and learning. Mr. David Stephen held talks with the Presidency and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Prepared by the United Nations Coordination Unit (UNCU), in collaboration with the Chief Security Advisor. The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) Somalia Monitor is issued out of various reports received from the field. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the United Nations. Queries and submissions should be forwarded to the UNCU, Facsimile No: (254-2) 448439 and Telephone No: (254-2) 448433/4, E-mail:

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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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