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Cablegate: Somalia Dart Situation Report 16 - the Impact

VZCZCXRO5717
RR RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #0870/01 0540930
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230930Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7693
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME 0103
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 NAIROBI 000870

SIPDIS

AIDAC

USAID/DCHA FOR MHESS, WGARVELINK, LROGERS
DCHA/OFDA FOR KLUU, GGOTTLIEB, AFERRARA, ACONVERY,
KCHANNELL
DCHA/FFP FOR WHAMMINK, JDWORKEN
AFR/AFR/EA FOR JBORNS
STATE FOR AF/E, AF/F AND PRM
STATE/AF/E FOR NGARY
STATE/F FOR ASISSON
STATE/PRM FOR AWENDT, MMCKELVEY
NSC FOR TSHORTLEY
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
USMISSION UN ROME FOR RNEWBERG

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PHUM PREL SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIA DART SITUATION REPORT 16 - THE IMPACT
OF INSECURITY ON HUMANITARIAN OPERATIONS

REFS:A) NAIROBI 00660 B) NAIROBI 00294

NAIROBI 00000870 001.2 OF 004


SUMMARY

1. Continuing insecurity and political uncertainty in
Somalia are displacing some populations from Mogadishu
and impeding humanitarian operations in Lower Juba
Region and Mogadishu. USAID's partners continue to
operate under extremely difficult circumstances, but
the populations that remain inaccessible are likely to
be in dire need of assistance. This cable examines the
current security situation in Mogadishu and southern
and central Somalia as it relates to humanitarian
operations and discusses particular areas of concern.
End Summary.

THE CURRENT SECURITY ENVIRONMENT

2. Ongoing military action against remnants of the
Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) in southern Somalia,
especially in Lower Juba Region, has had a negative
impact on the ability of the humanitarian community to
provide needed assistance in the most affected areas.
Humanitarian assistance providers are increasingly
concerned that short of immediate deployment of an
effective peacekeeping force that would assist the
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in establishing
rule of law and security, Somalia could again be
plunged into a broad civil conflict.

3. The security situation continues to be fluid in
Somalia with violent incidents reported daily by
international relief agencies. Civil disturbances and
demonstrations are also frequently reported.
Additionally, threats by the TFG to forcibly evict
existing internally displaced persons (IDPs) from
government-owned buildings have raised concerns among
the humanitarian community.

4. In January, the UN Common Air Service (UNCAS) and
other humanitarian flights into Somalia were restricted
due to insecurity. However, many key airfields
throughout central and southern Somalia have now been
re-opened for humanitarian air traffic by the UN.
Baidoa, Galkayo, and Wajid are key airports for
humanitarian operations and are currently in full
operation. Other airfields, including Luuq, Jamame,
and Jowhar are also open, but require special
permission, and Belet Weyne airport is available for
large cargo only. Mogadishu and Kismayo airports
remain closed.

MOGADISHU

5. Continuing violence and an unpredictable security
situation continue to limit movements of humanitarian
personnel in Mogadishu. The UN suspended UNCAS flights
to Mogadishu following the mortar attack at Mogadishu
airport on January 24. The UN World Food Program (WFP)
reports that the port of Mogadishu continues to
operate.

6. On February 13, the International Committee of the
Red Cross (ICRC), which runs the Kesaney Hospital in
Mogadishu, reported a significant increase in the
number of incoming war-wounded patients. In addition
to the wounded, Mogadishu hospitals continue to treat
patients with malaria, diarrhea, and other diseases.

NAIROBI 00000870 002.2 OF 004


According to the ICRC and the UN World Health
Organization (WHO), the hospitals continue to function
and relief agencies in Mogadishu have long-established
systems to maintain operations under high levels of
insecurity.

7. ICRC told USG Disaster Assistance Response Team
(DART) members that they are particularly concerned
about the recent Islamist threat to shoot down any
planes flying into Mogadishu airport, and that the
escalating violence in Mogadishu is the worst that they
have seen in 10 years.

SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL SOMALIA

8. Much of southern and central Somalia is
experiencing a gradual improvement of security
conditions. On February 12, USAID partner
International Medical Corps (IMC) reported that the
situation in Bay and Bakool regions, where it operates,
had improved in January and humanitarian agencies were
now able to access project sites that had been off-
limits since December.

9. Little information is available on the humanitarian
situation in Lower Juba Region. The non-governmental
organization (NGO) Horn Relief said that surveillance
flights and the presence of Ethiopian forces have
created anxiety and uncertainty causing pastoral
communities to change migration patterns. For example,
the town of Jiiro, Afmadow District, a preferred
grazing area, has remained empty since the bombing
there in January.

10. The UN has not allowed international or national
staff to return to Kismayo, and the helicopter base and
port there remain closed. WFP received permission to
have a few staff return briefly to close the office and
inter-agency storage facility. Although the port of
Kismayo remains closed and clan struggle for control
over the port continues, some small vessels from Dubai
have docked at the Kismayo port. WFP reports that it
continues to work with some transport contractors and
they are in the process of loading food that had been
prepositioned in Kismayo for distribution in the
region.

11. The ICRC is able to access Lower Juba Region and
has conducted several expatriate-led medical missions
to Afmadow District in the last two weeks. The ICRC
can not access Kismayo by air, due to the military use
of the airport. Additionally, areas southwest of
Kismayo are off-limits due to ongoing military
activity. On February 13, ICRC reported receiving
large numbers of casualties in Kismayo hospital and is
trying to transfer the most serious cases to Afmadow or
Baidoa.

CLAN CONFLICT

12. Throughout January, UN agencies reported inter-
clan fighting in Lower Juba Region that resulted in
civilian deaths and small-scale displacement. Clan
conflict affects the ability of humanitarian agencies
to access vulnerable populations when ongoing fighting
restricts local and international staff movement,
delivery of resources, and program implementation.
Examples include the current clan conflicts in Lower

NAIROBI 00000870 003.2 OF 004


Juba Region, chronic clan fighting in Gedo Region, and
periodic clan fighting in Belet Weyne town, where
different clans control the east and west sectors of
town, which is divided by the Shabelle River.

HUMANITARIAN ACCESS

13. Most of Somalia remains at UN security phase IV,
which limits UN agency operations to strictly
humanitarian and emergency activities. Mogadishu and
southern Lower Juba Region are classified as UN
security phase V, which requires that UN activities
receive approval from UN headquarters in New York,
limiting UN assistance and presence.

14. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) also notes concerns regarding the
resurgence of warlords, especially in southern Somalia,
and increased checkpoints on main roads, where militias
often demand road taxes and fines. The UN Children's
Fund (UNICEF) and WFP report that banditry, roadblocks,
and ambushes are increasing, making in-country
transport of supplies and staff extremely difficult.
UNICEF also reported that in Mogadishu pre-CIC
transport protocols have returned, in which vehicles
are handed off from one driver to another as they move
through areas controlled by different clans.

15. WFP reports that by late January, the number of
checkpoints on the Mogadishu-Baidoa road had
diminished, but checkpoints in other areas were on the
increase. WFP said a humanitarian convoy was held by
militia at Haway on the Merka-Buaale road in Middle
Juba Region, but was later allowed to proceed after
paying a passage fee. On January 31, WFP reported that
attacks on the Mogadishu-Balad road near the
encampments of Ethiopian forces had increased and that
convoys should take extra precautions. According to
WFP, the TFG has reportedly removed most of the
checkpoints on the Mogadishu-Merka-Brava road.

COMMENT

16. Humanitarian agencies are most concerned about
vulnerable populations in Lower Juba Region that are
food insecure, flood and conflict-affected, and have
nearly no access to international humanitarian
services. Relief activities in Mogadishu continue, but
the ongoing conflict has limited the UN's re-engagement
and expansion of activities.

17. Insecurity and ongoing fighting in Mogadishu and
Lower Juba Region have resulted in a humanitarian
response in Somalia driven by access rather than need.
USAID partners have been able to respond quickly and
sufficiently to disease outbreaks and deliver food aid
in many regions in Somalia, but the most vulnerable
areas in Lower Juba Region and along the Kenya-Somalia
border have not received adequate relief services.

18. In Lower Juba Region, only a few agencies (mostly
local NGOs) have been able to travel and reliable
information is unavailable. However, relief agencies
believe that humanitarian indicators in this area are
deteriorating due to food insecurity, lingering effects
from the November-December flooding, and Rift Valley
fever, which is concentrated in Afmadow District.


NAIROBI 00000870 004.2 OF 004


19. To date, the DART has been unable to conduct
humanitarian assessments, monitor partner programs, or
begin building working relationships with Somali
Transitional Federal Institutions from within Somalia
due to security restrictions. The DART will continue
to monitor the security situation in Somalia from
Nairobi, Kenya, through partners and UN agencies with a
presence on the ground, but an in-country presence is
preferable. UN and NGO expatriate staff travel
regularly to areas in Somalia that have been assessed
by UN security officials and take the necessary
precautions as mandated by UN standards.

20. USAID's Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance
is reviewing the possibility of funding humanitarian
security initiatives to ensure timely communication of
accurate security information relevant to humanitarian
operations, facilitate multi-agency security
assessments, and improve NGO and UN agency contingency
planning.

RANNEBERGER

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