SOMALIA: IRIN News Briefs [19990930]

SOMALIA: IRIN News Briefs [19990930]

SOMALIA : IRIN News Briefs, 29 September

UN resumes aid activities in Somalia

The UN on Tuesday rescinded its decision to suspend aid work in Somalia following the murder of a senior UNICEF official earlier this month and announced a resumption of aid activities in the country's central and southern regions. A statement from the Office of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator said while investigations continue in order to identify the killers, discussions held between UN agencies, community leaders, clan elders and civic groups in Baidoa, Jowhar and Mogadishu indicate a "clear determination" to take steps at the community level to prevent such "wanton" killings in future. "We are not returning to this blindly. Commitments have been made by the community leaders about the ways that these conditions will be fulfilled," UN Resident Coordinator Randolph Kent said. "We will be looking very carefully at what that will mean in terms of day-to-day practice. For our part, we will support them in whatever ways we can to help them ensure the security of humanitarian workers," he said.

Call for "preventative measures" to avert crisis

The Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB), which comprises donors, UN agencies and NGOs, on Tuesday called for "urgent preventative measures" to address the "worsening" food security crisis in Somalia's Bay, Bakol and Gedo regions. An inter-agency assessment mission conducted early this month noted a "chronic depletion of local resources and capacities to cope" which was rendering the population "increasingly vulnerable". The mission estimated that about 300,000 people in Bay and Bakol regions were in need of food assistance, with 73,000 of these "most acutely vulnerable". It said indications are that Gedo region is in an equal, if not worse situation, due to intense fighting in the area. The number of people at risk is expected to increase if immediate measures are not taken to prevent the destruction of livelihoods and subsequent displacement.

"A coordinated approach by the international community is required to prevent the situation in these regions from worsening and spreading to other areas of the country," Chairman of the SACB Executive Committee J. Duarte de Carvalho said.

Some 1.2 million potentially in need of emergency relief

Meanwhile, USAID last week said some 1.2 million people are "potentially" in need of immediate emergency food relief in southern Somalia. Based on an assessment mission by FAO, WFP and FEWS, a statement from the organisation mentioned some 83,000 people in Hiran, 193,000 in Lower Shabelle and 160,000 in lower Juba besides 730,000 affected populations in Bay and Bakol. It blamed the situation on poor rainfall and insecurity, as well as shortage of drugs and veterinary services which have affected the livestock sector.

Somaliland again seeks international recognition

The chairman of the Somaliland Forum underway in the US has again urged the international community to recognise his country as an independent state. "As we are approaching the end of this century, we want to inform the international community that Somaliland has been a sovereign state for two-thirds of this century including the last eight years," Jama Musse Jama said . "The Republic of Somaliland is now a peaceful country with a vibrant enterprising people, a bicameral parliamentary system, an independent judiciary and fully functioning central and local government."


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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

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

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