SOMALIA: Help running out as IDP numbers rise in Afgoye.

Halkaan ka akhri

NAIROBI, 25 October 2010 – Civil society and local officials in Somalia’s Afgoye Corridor – home to an estimated 400,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) – are worried about the deteriorating situation, especially for women and children.

“The situation … is worse today than a year ago; there are more of them [IDPs], the needs are greater and there is no help in terms of aid agencies,” said Amina Aden Mahamed, a doctor and director of Hawo Abdi Foundation, one of the most active groups helping IDPs in the camps outside the capital, Mogadishu.

Many aid agencies that were helping the IDPs have withdrawn from Afgoye Corridor, south of the capital Mogadishu, due to insecurity.

The lack of access to IDPs, Mahamed said, has meant hundreds of thousands across the country not being helped.

“More and more are coming and the help is not there,” she said. “Agencies need to consider using Somalis to deliver to the vulnerable population.”

Local help

Abdullahi Shirwa, of Civil Society in Action, an umbrella organization of civil society groups, told IRIN insecurity should no longer be used as an excuse not to deliver aid as there were Somalis capable of delivering assistance to the displaced and the needy.

He said the security issue should not stop help from being delivered.

Shirwa added: “Unfortunately, insecurity has become a way of life in the country and can no longer be used as an excuse not to help people in desperate need.”

He said Hawo Abdi Foundation, which runs the biggest hospital in the Afgoye Corridor, would be a good example of a local Somali partner. “Someone like her [Dr Hawo Abdi] will deliver whatever assistance she is given. They [international aid agencies] should make use of her and others like her.”

Greater vulnerability

Ahmed Sheikh, a Somali aid worker, said the IDPs’ vulnerability had increased since the violence escalated between August and October.

“More and more people are coming to the Afgoye Corridor camps and they are weaker than before,” Duale Mohamed Aden, a doctor at the Hawo Abdi Hospital, told IRIN.

Aden said they were seeing an average of 1,200 patients per week at their outpatients’ clinic. He said most were women and children.

Respiratory diseases

“We currently have 90 children as inpatients; 30 are there for malnourishment and the rest are suffering from respiratory diseases, malaria, measles and whooping cough.”

In the past two weeks, Aden said, they had been seeing more and more cases of measles and whooping cough.

He added that the hospital had sufficient medical staff but not enough medicine, fuel for the generators or food for the mothers with malnourished children.

“Ninety-five per cent of the 50 adult patients now recovering in our hospital are women; we have 20 women who are malnourished and some of them are breastfeeding,” he said.

Aden said more had to be done to help the sick “but we are running out of almost everything and if they continue coming like they are now, we will run out of the drugs and what little food we have for them”.

Mahamed said mothers’ health and nutrition should be a priority “because if the mother is already malnourished then the baby will be born malnourished. We can break the cycle if we put more effort into the mother.”

Overall, some 1.4 million Somalis have been displaced by the fighting between government forces and Islamic insurgents, who control much of south and central Somalia, including most of Mogadishu.

Source:     IRIN

%d bloggers like this: