UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
IRIN-CEA News Briefs, 27 August 1999
SOMALIA: Aid agencies confident of securing flights to and from Kenya
Relief agencies on Thursday handed a collaborative petition to the Kenyan government to allow special access for humanitarian flights in light of President Daniel arap Moi's announcement on Wednesday that Kenya's closure of its borders with Somalia extended to a ban on all flights in and out of the country. Kenyan television reported on Thursday that the Office of the President had said the ban would take effect from 1 September, but that some flights - understood to be humanitarian - would be allowed to continue to avoid a complete disruption of particular activities.
The humanitarian community had two main concerns over the flight ban, according to a senior official who spoke to IRIN: that the interim period before a regularised system for scheduling and clearing flights is put in place should not be too long, and that there would be flexibility to allow the necessary responsiveness to emergency needs, such as medivacs and security-related personnel withdrawals. Informed sources were on Friday confident that the temporary ban on humanitarian flights was "a procedural glitch" arising out of the government's intention to clamp down on irresponsible operators flying in and out of Somalia, and that the situation would be quickly resolved.
[for more details, see IRIN report of 27 August headlined: "Aid agencies make case for special access after Kenyan flight ban"]
SACB recommends return to Lower Shabelle
The SACB had just last week recommended, given indications of improved security, the resumed deployment of expatriate humanitarian staff in Lower Shabelle Region. That decision arose after a review of a letter from the Merka Council of Educated and Cadres. However, it also recommended that such presence be carefully reintroduced and that "caution be exercised until the partners assess the situation on the ground" and deem it acceptable. The SACB would keep the situation in Lower Shabelle under constant review, the statement said, urging meanwhile that all responsible community representatives and local authorities ensured full security for international organisations working in the region.
$1.5 million project supports Berbera port rehabilitation
UN Habitat agency (UNHCS) has committed $1.5 million to support the rehabilitation of Berbera Port in Somaliland, northwest Somalia, in what the agency depicts as "a successful response" to the call by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the international community to review its role in Somalia. Acting Executive Director of Habitat Klaus Toepfer said he hoped the project, funded by the European Commission with money from the Italian government, would be the beginning of a fruitful collaboration to reconstruct and rehabilitate a devastated society.
Berbera is the latest in a series of projects undertaken by Habitat to reconstruct urban centres and help resettle refugees, a press release stated. In Burao, Habitat has been supported the rehabilitation of a hospital and market places; in Boroma, trained muncipal staff so they can survey and re-map the town, helping to establish ownership records and property rights; in Sheikh, worked with partners to establish a solid waste management system; and in Hargeisa, helped Hargeisa Water Agency to improve the production and distribution of basic water services. In general, the statement added, Habitat has been busy helping to "ensure that cities in Somalia will be better governed and that ordinary citizens will have basic services and security of tenure."
Ethiopia reported to have consolidated hold on Gedo
Reports from southern Somalia say that hundreds of Ethiopian troops have crossed the border over the past two weeks and occupied towns in the Gedo region. The troops initially pursued rebels of the Oromo Liberation front (OLF) into Somalia but then remained in Garba Harre, Belet Hawo, Lugh and Dolo, according to sources cited by the BBC.
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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999
Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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