[dehai-news] (UN) Conflict now major cause for displacement in Somalia, says UN refugee agency

From: Biniam Tekle <>
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2011 22:38:27 -0500 Conflict
now major cause for displacement in Somalia, says UN refugee agency

A young Somali refugee receives an injection at a reception centre in
Kenya's sprawling Dadaab complex
29 November 2011 –
Insecurity and conflict due to insurgency is now one of the main causes for
displacement in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, the United Nations refugee
agency said <> today, warning that
constant fighting is also hampering aid efforts in the country.

“In Mogadishu, we noted a profound change in the root causes driving forced
displacement,” said Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the Office of the High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR<>).
“While drought accounted for the vast majority of displacement in the
Somali capital during the first three quarters of the year, as of October
we have seen 8,300 people displaced by conflict and just 500 displaced as a
result of drought.”

In Mogadishu, we noted a profound change in the root causes driving forced

Mr. Mahecic told reporters <> in Geneva
that conflict and military activity were also affecting people’s access to
food in other areas in the southern part of the country such as Qooqaani,
Tabta and Afmadow, where some 500 people, including children, have left
their homes and are travelling by foot to the border town of Dobley, where
a number of agencies are distributing food and providing assistance.

UNHCR said this movement of people has happened in spite of the heavy rains
which have limited movement in the southern and central parts of the
country, while also adding that many people are still reluctant to move,
fearing ambushes or getting caught in the crossfire.

Somalia faces a dire humanitarian situation, having endured a drought and
famine as well as continued fighting and heavy rains this year, all of
which have aggravated the conditions of its estimated 1.46 million
internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Conflict is also preventing UN agencies from delivering assistance. UNHCR,
the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF <>) and the World
Health Organization (WHO <>) all expressed concern
today about the announcement by insurgent group Al-Shabaab that it would
permanently revoke work permissions to several UN organizations in parts in
Somalia under their control.

UNICEF and WHO reported that their offices have been raided and occupied,
and said they are currently assessing the impact of these actions on their

Fighting and insecurity is also affecting refugee camps in neighbouring
Kenya, with UN staff reporting that they have been unable to assess the
number and condition of new arrivals to the Dadaab complex. However,
despite restrictions on movement, authorities have managed to complete an
oral polio vaccination campaign for all refugee children less than five
years of age.

UNHCR also reported that more than 360 refugees in the camp have been
affected by cholera and acute watery diarrhoea, adding that efforts to
enhance security measures are being taken so assistance can be delivered as
soon as possible.

In addition, the agency said it would increase its efforts in the Dollo Ado
camps in Ethiopia as there is a high rate of severe acute malnutrition
among resident children under the age of five. In response, UNHCR and
partners are expanding their wet feeding programme to all children up to
the age of 10, and adding milk powder to porridge to boost nutrient levels.

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