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Ongoing Violence Uproots Another 5,500 In Somalia

Ongoing Violence Uproots Another 5,500 People From Somali Capital, Says UN

New York, Oct 17 2008 4:10PM

An additional 5,500 people have been displaced this week from the capital of strife-torn Somalia, the United Nations reported today, bringing the total number of those uprooted by fighting between Government forces and Islamic insurgents since 21 September to over 61,000.

The clashes that erupted last month in Mogadishu have been some of the worst violence to hit the city in over a year and a half, and began just weeks after the signing of a UN-brokered peace deal between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the rebel Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) aimed at ending the fighting.

The violence has reportedly killed 80 civilians and wounded hundreds more. It has also caused thousands to flee their homes, brining the total number of people uprooted so far this year in Mogadishu to 160,000, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Aid agencies have been stepping up their efforts since the latest surge in fighting to assist those affected in the Horn of Africa nation, which has not had a functioning government since 1991 and is trying to cope with an already dire humanitarian situation due to a combination of conflict and drought.

Some 3.2 million people in Somalia, or around 43 per cent of the population, are in urgent need of food and other humanitarian assistance.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its partners are continuing to provide safe drinking water to over 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), according to the latest update provided by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

They have also now provided emergency school tents and foundations for 20 classrooms enabling access to education for another 1,000 children, along the corridor between Mogadishu and the town of Afgooye, bringing the total number of beneficiaries to 15,000.

In addition, some 370 teachers from Gedo, Bay and Bakool regions were trained this week in management, educational psychology, emergency education, nutrition and HIV/AIDS by UNICEF. The training is expected benefit around 70,000 children through improved education service delivery.

Also in the Bakool region, the World Food Programme (WFP) plans to carry out direct distribution to beneficiaries of supplementary feeding, mother and child health centres and social support programmes. Malnutrition rates in the region stand at 25.5 per cent, one of the highest in Somalia.


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