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Cablegate: Usg Humanitarian Planning for Somalia

VZCZCXRO8821
RR RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #5299/01 3531319
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191319Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6075
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 005299

SIPDIS

AIDAC

SIPDIS

AID/DCHA FOR MHESS, WGARVELINK, LROGERS
DCHA/OFDA FOR KLUU, GGOTTLIEB, AFERRARA, ACONVERY,
CGOTTSCHALK, KCHANNELL
DCHA/FFP FOR WHAMMINK, JDWORKEN
USAID/AFR/EA FOR JBORNS
STATE FOR AF/E AND PRM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID SOCI PREF PREL SO
SUBJECT: USG HUMANITARIAN PLANNING FOR SOMALIA

SUMMARY

1. Fears of conflict between the Transitional Federal
Government of Somalia and the Islamic Courts are
growing. USG and other humanitarian organizations are
working together on contingency planning efforts. These
include developing scenarios (based on the assumption
that non-combatants will be forced to flee, either
within Somalia or to neighboring countries) and
identifying organizations and resources to manage
possible outcomes. USAID and PRM continue to follow
humanitarian events in Somalia very closely from Addis
Ababa and Nairobi. If conflict does break out and
spread, substantial new humanitarian resources will be
needed for affected Somalis. End Summary.

Background

2. The humanitarian community working on Somalia is
concerned that tension between the Transitional Federal
Government of Somalia (TFG) and the Council of Islamic
Courts (CIC) could break into open warfare at any time
and negatively impact a population already affected by
years of conflict, drought, and flooding.

3. It is feared that if warfare breaks out between the
two parties and their allies, large numbers of Somalis
will be displaced (or further displaced) from their
homes and livelihoods, and require substantial
humanitarian assistance. Most observers believe that
any major fighting will start in the Bay region where
the TFG is based, and generate substantial population
movements both within Somalia and across international
borders into Kenya and Ethiopia. Once started, it is
feared that the conflict may degenerate into a broader
and bloodier war between the CIC and the Ethiopians.

4. We share these concerns, and have undertaken
contingency planning of our own, while monitoring that
of United Nations (UN) and other humanitarian agencies.
The Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and
Migration (PRM) and USAID/DCHA's Offices of Foreign
Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and Food for Peace (FFP) in
Nairobi and Addis Ababa are closely following events in
Somalia, and provided the information below.

5. Note: The humanitarian community working on Somalia
has been largely based in Nairobi since the early 1990s
due to insecurity in Somalia. A substantial humanitarian
infrastructure has been built up in Nairobi over the last
15 year, which includes coordination mechanisms, think
tanks, information gathering capacities, logistics
(storage, shipping, airlift, procurement) and UN and NGO
Somalia headquarters. End note.

Conflict in Somalia

6. OFDA and FFP are reviewing and revising the
USAID/DCHA regional contingency plan for extensive
conflict in Somalia. The plan identifies the geographic
locations for possible conflict between various actors
in Somalia estimates the number of potentially displaced
persons, and predicts where they will flee. Based on
this information, USAID/DCHA is reviewing humanitarian
assistance resources needed, and identifying agencies
with the operational capacity to meet the emergency needs.

7. The UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) Somalia has outlined contingency plans
for conflict in Somalia based on its new "cluster"
system, to identify humanitarian needs, available
resources and gaps, and potential implementing agencies
and partners. The clusters are chaired by designated UN
agencies and include representatives of international
organizations and NGOs operational in Somalia. The main
clusters are focused on water and sanitation, health and
nutrition, protection, logistics, and food security.

8. The NGO Consortium of Somalia, made up of 190
international and local NGOs and headquartered in
Nairobi, has actively participated in the UNOCHA
preparedness planning process and provides a wide range
of logistical, technical and administrative expertise to
the contingency planning processes; members of the NGO

NAIROBI 00005299 002 OF 002


Consortium are the primary implementers of UN programs
in Somalia.

9. UN agencies had until recently healthy stockpiles of
drug kits and non-food items (NFI) for Somalia. However,
over the last month they have utilized and distributed
most of these resources in their response to the flooding
in south central Somalia. OCHA Somalia launched an appeal
December 5 to address ongoing flood conditions in Somalia
and to seek donations to replenish their stockpiles of
drugs, NFI, and other resources that will be needed in the
event of large scale conflict in Somalia.

10. OCHA Ethiopia has also drafted a contingency plan,
based on the cluster system, and has called several
meetings with USAID, PRM, and UN agencies for ongoing
contingency planning for a modest influx of refugees and
possible cross-border operations depending on how the
potential conflict evolves. The UN system in Ethiopia
is less inclined to work with NGOs as implementers of
their plan, leaving NGOs less involved in the contingency
planning process than is the case in Nairobi.
Consequently, USAID/OFDA, more experienced in integrating
NGOs within its contingency plan, is facilitating a
preparedness planning process with its NGO partners.

UNHCR and Refugees

12. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) has adjusted its contingency planning scenario
upward to 200,000 asylum seekers entering Kenya from
Somalia within a short (three to five month) time
period. The revision is based on the increased
likelihood that large scale hostilities will break out
in Somalia between the CIC and TFG/Ethiopia. UNHCR and
its partners have managed the current influx (37,000 to
date in 2006), and, while stretched by the unanticipated
flood response, are resourced and prepared to handle up
to 40,000 more asylum seekers.

13. However, if large scale fighting occurs and 200,000
new refugees enter Kenya, a humanitarian disaster for
both the new arrivals and the host Kenyan population
could result. Additional financial and food resources
will be quickly needed to respond to the health, food,
and shelter needs of the new refugees and host population.

Food

14. Both USAID-funded food agencies (CARE and the UN
World Food Program - WFP) have adequate food stocks with
over 70,000 MTs; 27,000 MTs in Somalia with the
remainder in Kenya, Djibouti, and Tanzania. WFP air
transport in place for the floods could be used for air
drops to access to areas cut off by floods or conflict.
Agencies have adapted to the ongoing crises in Somalia
over the past decade and effectively operate under a
contingency plan now. The use of local Somali
transporters and local NGOs for food distribution - with
monitoring by CARE and WFP - has so far proven to be a
resilient method of ensuring continued access to
beneficiaries despite the many obstacles. Because both
agencies utilize Mombassa port for food shipments and
transit via roads from Kenya to Somalia, they would be
well placed to respond to increased food needs on the
Kenya border if a massive refugee influx occurred.

Conclusion

15. USAID and PRM are closely monitoring the situation.
If warfare breaks out, most likely substantial USG
humanitarian resources will be required to meet the
humanitarian needs of affected Somalis.

RANNEBERGER

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