In Somalia, humanitarian situation feared to deteriorate further

Newly arrived refugees get their fingers inked at the Ifo refugee camp in Kenya. New warnings say that the situation in Somalia could get worse. Photo by: Internews / CC BY-NC-SA

When reports of the fragile progress achieved in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Somalia first surfaced, aid agencies cautiously welcomed the news — arguing that the crisis is far from over.  Now, there are new warnings that the situation could get worse.

What’s to blame? Aid officials said it’s a combination of factors such as new security threats, the entry of Kenyan forces into the country and the militant group al-Shabab’s recently imposed ban on 16 aid groups, which include several U.N. agencies.

Because of insecurity and the ban, aid efforts in large parts of Somalia, particularly in the militant-controlled south, have been largely delayed. Critical services such as health, nutrition, water and food programs have been suspended indefinitely, IRIN says, citing civil society and nongovernmental organization sources.

The head of Somalia’s National Disaster Management Agency said they are now looking for ways to find aid groups that were not banned to take over helping affected populations.

“We are asking both Muslim and non-Muslim agencies who can go there to do so,” Abdullahi Shirwasaid according to IRIN. “We are also going to ask the agencies that have been forced out to turn over whatever they have to those who can reach the needy.”

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.