Over 1 million Somalis affected by expulsion of aid organizations, UN reports

Over 400,000 IDPs from Mogadishu have sought refuge in the Afgooye corridor

8 October 2010 – Over 1 million people in Somalia have been affected by the expulsion by Al Shabaab militants of international organizations that provide support in areas such as agriculture and livelihoods, health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, the United Nations reported in its latest update.

Access for aid organizations in southern Somalia is at its lowest point since 2006, with Al Shabaab expelling three more in September for having ties with the United States Government, bringing to eight those expelled this year, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

Earlier this month, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that some 410,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the violence-wracked capital, Mogadishu, have sought refuge in the Afgooye corridor, a 20-kilometre strip of land north-west of the city, up from 366,000 in September last year as a result of fighting between Al Shabaab and the UN-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which is supported by African peacekeepers.

According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), south-central Somalia reported nearly 37,000 cases of cholera/acute watery diarrhoea in the first 37 weeks of the year, nearly 28,000 of them children under five, with 106 deaths, 85 of them children.

A further 3,137 cases have been reported from Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu, including nearly 2,600 children under five, with 89 deaths, the agency noted in its latest Emergency Humanitarian Action bulletin.

In view of seasonal outbreaks in past years, WHO continues to call on health partners to closely monitor current trends and undertake preparedness and response plans. The agency’s major concern is that access constraints coupled with the expulsions, suspension and scaling down of operations by key humanitarian agencies will hamper future outbreak response activities.

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