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Cablegate: Somalia Dart Situation Report 17 ?

VZCZCXRO0143
RR RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #0966/01 0591234
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281234Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7848
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME 0119
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 000966

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 AMAHONEY
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
USMISSION UN ROME FOR RNEWBERG

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PHUM PREL SO

SUBJECT: SOMALIA DART SITUATION REPORT 17 ?
HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE TO FIRE IN BARDERA

NAIROBI 00000966 001.2 OF 002


SUMMARY

1. A fire in Bardera town, in southern Somalia's Gedo
Region, on February 22 displaced approximately 700
families and destroyed homes and personal assets. The
fire underlines the humanitarian conditions that many
poor Somalis face in towns across the country. The
humanitarian community, with effective coordination by
the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), mobilized rapidly to
provide emergency assistance in the form of medical
care, food, water, shelter, and relief supplies.

ONE-FIFTH OF BARDERA UP IN SMOKE

2. On February 22, a fire in the southern portion of
Bardera town, Gedo Region, spread through approximately
one-fifth of the land area, destroying houses and
property. A UNICEF assessment on February 23
identified approximately 700 households, about 4,200
people, affected by the fire, which is suspected to
have been caused by a cooking accident. The fire
occurred in a part of Bardera inhabited by relatively
poor Somais, whose homes are made of locally available
materials such as cane and reeds.

3. Most of the 700 families lost all their personal
belongings in the fire, including bedding, cooking and
eating utensils, food supplies, and clothing. Some
families fled to the homes of relatives and received
assistance, but others fled to open areas and required
immediate help. A local non-governmental organization
(NGO), Social Life and Agricultural Development
Organization, identified shelter, blankets, medical
assistance, food, and water as immediate needs.

COORDINATED RESPONSE EFFORTS

4. UN agencies and NGOs have responded quickly to meet
the needs of individuals affected by the fire.
Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) is addressing medical
needs, the UN World Food Program (WFP) is providing
emergency food assistance, and international NGOs are
coordinating with local partners for the distribution
of relief supplies. UNICEF sent 500 tents to Bardera
on February 24, and the Somali Red Crescent Society is
transporting UNICEF-provided water and sanitation
equipment, including water bladders and taps. UNICEF
is also working with local authorities to ensure that
schools temporarily housing displaced families will re-
open promptly.

5. The NGO Norwegian Church Aid is working with local
partners to distribute 1,400 relief kits comprising
blankets, cooking utensils, soap, plastic sheeting, and
jerry cans. MSF has dispatched a medical team to treat
people wounded in the fire, and a local NGO is
addressing psychological needs. WFP has committed 167
metric tons of food aid to be distributed in two-month
food rations to displaced families.

6. UNICEF was effective in coordinating the
humanitarian response efforts to this disaster with
local and international NGOs. In addition to leading
the coordination effort, UNICEF is providing assistance
for shelter, water and sanitation, and education
interventions, and says it has sufficient resources in
Somalia and the region to mount an effective response.

NAIROBI 00000966 002.2 OF 002

COMMENTS

7. Despite the challenges of working in Somalia,
relief agencies reacted quickly and effectively to meet
the needs of individuals affected by the recent fire in
Bardera.

8. Agencies in Bardera and other Somali towns plan to
use this incident to encourage urban authorities to
implement minimum fire avoidance measures, such as
properly spacing homes, enforcing open areas for fire
breaks, and encouraging people to be careful with
cooking fires.

RANNEBERGER

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