SOMALIA: UNCT Somalia Monitor 1998.12.23

SOMALIA: UNCT Somalia Monitor 1998.12.23

THE UNCT SOMALIA MONITOR 14 - 21 December 1998


Emergency Update - food shortages in central and southern Somalia Despite the continued inter-clan conflict and increased insecurity, the United Nations agencies and their counterparts, including international and local NGOs, and community representatives continue to address the deteriorating food shortages in Bay and Bakool regions. On 13 December, a United Nations food convoy carrying food aid amounting to 1,022 Mt. arrived in various districts of Bay region, including Baidoa, Burhakaba, Wajid, Diinsoor, Berdale and Qansadhere, and related villages. The food shortage was at its worst in Qansadhere area where hundreds of famine victims, mainly women with malnourished babies on their backs, turned up for a WFP food distribution. There was also heavy militia presence in the area during the distribution which went smoothly. In addition, a new shipment of food consisting of 825 Mt. of dry foods and 250 crates of cholera medicine, has also arrived at the port of Merka, for onward distribution to the hungry countryside and affected areas respectively. Also, UNICEF and other international NGOs, including Trocaire, World Vision, Swedish Church Relief, Memisa, IMC, Intersos, ACF, CEFA, and COSV have distributed various kinds of food (Supermix) and non-food items to the vulnerable populations in Bay, Bakool, Gedo, Middle and Lower Juba, Lower and Middle Shabelle, and Hiran regions. In response to an emergency appeal of US $18m million, launched by the agencies of the UNCT last November, the European Commission (EC) Somalia unit, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Italian government made generous contributions covering nearly two-thirds of the appeals revised requirement. With the immediate secondary season harvest not promising, food aid requirement to the impoverished people of Somalia is expected to increase. Already, the indications of poor harvest, movement of IDPs and sharp price rise of staple foods, coupled with increased inter-clan militia confrontation and sheer banditry, are causes of serious concern.

Health Update For a country with no organized health infrastructure, ordinary and preventable ailments can be disastrous. The example of diarrhoeal disease is illustrative. For people with access to routine medical care, diarrhoea - even cholera- is hardly life threatening. But in areas of Somalia where little medical care is available, diarrhoeal diseasese are one of major causes of death. Around December/January another cholera epidemic is expected in one or more of the major urban centers, as has been the case each year for the past five years. This year, given the lack of rainfall, the epidemic is predicted to be larger than average, a cause for serious concern, given the insecurity prevalent in and around Mogadishu and Kismayo. Already, the WHO reported to have recorded at least 20 cholera cases admitted in hospitals in south and north Mogadishu in the past three weeks. In order to counter the scourge, WHO reported to have mobilized a cholera task force for proper case management and health education in the affected areas. In other health activities, UNICEF has started vaccination campaign in the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps around Bay and Bakool regions, while WHO continues epidemeolgical surveillance in these areas.

UNHCRs voluntary repatriation programnme of Somali refugees in Yemen continues The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has continued facilitating the repatriation of Somali refugees from Yemen. During November, some 221 Somali refugees were repatriated from Yemen to Mogadishu, according to the agency. The refugees were reportedly received by UNHCR Mogadishu staff members, who were waiting the aircraft at Balidogle airport, about 100 km from Mogadishu. The refugees were then given onward transportation to their destinations in Mogadishu and its environs. The local authorities in the receiving communities have requested assistance through projects to help in the re-integration of the returnees.

Somalia rainfall network established to improve food security assessment, crop yield predictions... A permanent rainfall data collection network for Somalia is being established. FAO, in conjunction with the Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU), Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) Somalia, are to establish a permanent network in which primary rainfall data collected from the field is to be recorded and analyzed. This network is an important component for the support to early warning systems and food security situation in Somalia and will assist in improving crop yield forecasting techniques and estimates for the main cereal crops. On 18 December, representatives from FAO, FEWS, FSAU, NGOs and local professional consultants met to discuss the issue of improving the Somalia rainfall network.


SOUTHERN ZONE: In the Juba valley, UNICEF along with the local NGO, Somaction, distributed 87 Mt. of supermix- a highly nutritious porridge for the children and the weak- to Bardera, Fafadhun, and Elwak. In Bulohawa, MSF-Spain provided for 20 Mt. of supermix. In addition, the agency distributed a humanitarian assistance package comprising tarpaulin sheets, oral rehydration salts (ORS), medicine, and chlorine for IDP population in Gedo region.

CENTRAL ZONE: Apart from the normal programme activities, UN agencies and NGOs continue to focus on alleviating the unfolding emergency in Bay, Bakool and parts of the Lower Shabelle regions. With WFPs food aid distribution continuing, WHO and UNICEF are providing for medical assistance. WHO conducted a twelve-day training workshop on the early diagnosis and treatment of severe and complicated malaria, treatment of acute diarrhoeal disease and its effect on malnutrition and treatment of acute respiratory tract infections. Thirty-seven doctors and health practitioners from Bay and Bakool regions participated in the workshop.

NORTHEAST ZONE: Normal programme activities continued.

NORTHWEST ZONE: Normal programme activities continued.

End report.

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) 448434

Date: Wed, 23 Dec 1998 11:40:35 +0300 (EAT) From: IRIN - Central and Eastern Africa <> Subject: SOMALIA: UNCT Somalia Monitor 1998.12.23

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

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