Famine wrecks health of Somalis displaced in country
Health and nutrition rates have deteriorated for famine-wrecked Somalis displaced within their own country but improved for those who have fled to Ethiopia, the United Nations refugee agency reported late September.
In Mogadishu, the capital, the incidence of diarrhoea and measles among internally displaced persons (IDPs) remains a threat and the estimated mortality rates among children under the age of five continue to be alarmingly high at 15.43 per 10,000 a day in August, compared to 14.09 in July, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Geneva. Malnutrition rates have also worsened.
Tens of thousands of Somalis have already died and more than 3.2 million others are on the brink of starvation in a country that has been torn apart by factional and Islamic militant conflicts for the past two decades during which it has had no functioning central government.
Access to IDPs has improved somewhat since Al-Shabaab Islamic militants withdrew from Mogadishu in August under pressure from the 6,200-strong UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). UNHCR has made fact-finding missions to some of the more than 180 makeshift camps in the capital to distribute emergency aid items.
“We aim to undertake up to 10 fact-finding missions a week to IDP settlements,” Mr. Edwards said. “We still have no access to many parts of the capital. Outside the protected compound of the Mogadishu International Airport, our staff are still forced to move with secured convoys.”
In the Tarbuush and Al Adala settlements, IDPs now have improved shelter conditions and can use new kitchen sets to prepare the food they have received. Blankets and sleeping mats were also immediately put to use.
Meanwhile, UNHCR and its partners have made progress in delivering health and nutrition services to tens of thousands of Somali refugees in the Dollo Ado camps in Ethiopia. The measles vaccination campaign completed two weeks ago has led to a sharp decrease in new cases and fatalities, and mobile health teams are reaching many families who previously had no access to medical services