You are here

Concern and 40 NGOs respond to catastrophe in Somalia

According to Concern and other international and national NGOs, there is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in South Central Somalia. Tens of thousands of people are currently fleeing violence in Mogadishu adding to the up to 335,000 people already needing immediate lifesaving assistance in Mogadishu and the Shabelle regions.

NGOs cannot respond effectively to the crisis because access and security are deteriorating dramatically at a time when needs are increasing. The international community and all involved parties have a responsibility to protect civilians, to allow the delivery of aid and to respect humanitarian space and the safety of humanitarian workers.

Compounding an existing crisis

A dramatic increase in movement from Mogadishu has occurred in the past few days. This comes on the heels of an existing humanitarian crisis in which 1.5 million people in Somalia require humanitarian assistance. Constrained access and deteriorating security is leaving international and national NGOs with little humanitarian space in which to operate in Somalia.

Given these restrictions, it is impossible to obtain more precise figures of the magnitude of the crisis. However, all indicators point to a deterioration of the already dire humanitarian situation. 

Over 400,000 people fled violence and insecurity in Mogadishu earlier this year. After a relative lull, fighting between transitional federal government / Ethiopian troops and anti-government forces has now increased again, triggering another mass exodus from the city. 

Fleeing the violence

In the past few days tens of thousands of people have fled Mogadishu. They have moved to areas that are already inundated with thousands of people who have previously been displaced from their homes. The communities attempting to host these growing numbers of people are already at breaking point. Humanitarian agencies have little or no access to these areas.

NGOs are struggling to deliver assistance through Somali partners in these settlement areas. They are being constrained by high levels of insecurity and other impediments (for example, harassment, intimidation, roadside bombs and landmines, checkpoints severely delaying access are increasing in number and prices to pass them are rising).

The international community and all parties to the present conflict have a responsibility to protect civilians, to allow the delivery of aid and to respect humanitarian space and the safety of humanitarian workers.

The above statement was signed by a group of 40 NGOs, including Concern, Trocaire and Oxfam.

Concern has been working in Somalia since 1992, focusing on livelihood activities, water and sanitation programmes and education.