International NGOs cannot adequately respond to the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia
30 October 2007 – Today, 39 International and National NGOs stated: “There is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in South Central Somalia. Tens of thousands of people are currently fleeing violence in Mogadishu adding to the up to 335,000 people already needing immediate lifesaving assistance in Mogadishu and the Shabelle regions."
“International and National NGOs cannot respond effectively to the crisis because access and security are deteriorating dramatically at a time when needs are increasing.”
“The international community and all parties to the present conflict have a responsibility to protect civilians, to allow the delivery of aid and to respect humanitarian space and the safety of humanitarian workers.”
Today, these 39 International and National humanitarian agencies working in Somalia are highlighting the dramatic deterioration of the humanitarian situation in South Central Somalia and are calling on those with a responsibility to protect civilians to act now to save lives.
A dramatic increase in movement from Mogadishu has occurred in the past few days. This comes on the heels of an existing humanitarian crisis in which 1.5 million people in Somalia require humanitarian assistance.
Constrained access and deteriorating security is leaving International and National NGOs with little humanitarian space in which to operate in Somalia.
Given the severe security and access constraints, it is impossible to obtain more precise figures of the magnitude of the crisis. However, all indicators point to a deterioration of the, already dire, humanitarian situation.
Over 400,000 people fled violence and insecurity in Mogadishu earlier this year. After a relative lull, fighting between TFG/Ethiopian troops and anti-government forces violence has now increased again triggering another mass exodus from the city.
Ongoing violence and insecurity continues to severely exacerbate the already dire humanitarian crisis in the country.
In the past few days tens of thousands of people have fled renewed violence in Mogadishu. They have fled to areas that were already inundated with 1000’s of IDPs, to host communities whose coping capacities are already at breaking point and to areas in which there is little or no access by humanitarian agencies.
The humanitarian catastrophe unfolding is compounded by the fact that International and National NGOs cannot respond effectively to the crisis. This is due to access and security deteriorating dramatically at a time when needs are increasing at an alarming rate.
International and National NGOs are struggling to deliver assistance through Somali partners in IDP settlement areas, but are constrained by high levels of insecurity and other impediments (for example, harassment, intimidation, roadside bombs and landmines, checkpoints severely delaying access are increasing in number and prices to pass them are rising).
The international community and all parties to the present conflict have a responsibility to protect civilians, to allow the delivery of aid and to respect humanitarian space and the safety of humanitarian workers.
The above statement has been signed by the below agencies:
Advancement for Small Enterprise Programmes (ASEP)
Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA)
Africa Rescue Committee (AFREC)
Agency for Technical Cooperation & Development (ACTED)
Centre for Peace and Democracy (CPD)
Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI)
Coordinating Committee of the Organisation for Voluntary Service (COSV)
Danish Refugee Council (DRC)
Diahonia Emergency Aid
Family Economic Recovery Organisation (FERO)
Gedo Health Consortium (GHC)
HARDO Relief and Development Organisation
International Aid Services (IAS)
International Committee for the Development of People (CISP)
International Medical Corps (IMC)
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
Save the Children UK
Swedish Alliance Welfare Association (SAWA)
Veterinaries Sans Frontieres Suisse (VSF Suisse)
Welthungerhilfe/German Agro Action (DWWHH/GAA)
World Vision International
For further information on NGO contacts, call the Somalia NGO Consortium on: 020 374 3147 / 020 374 4105
Andrea Pattison, Information and Media Officer, Oxfam Novib
Mob: +254 736 476 514
Office: +254 20 374 1951