Tuesday, October 09, 2012

New report says Somalia could be at crisis again soon

OXFAM is warning that there are some signs that Somalia could be in crisis again soon. El-Nino rains are underway and increasing hunger could plunge the country into famine just as it experienced last year.

The ongoing armed conflict with al-Shabaab has moved away from the major city of Mogadishu. The city has returrned to life and it gives false sense of improvement according to OXFAM. Their report surveyed residents of Somalia to see if they worry about meeting needs in the near future.

We believe that as long as the armed conflict continues Somalia will always be at or near a crisis state regardless the weather. The government is focusing their efforts on defeating their enemy instead of agriculture and health. Meanwhile, al-Shabaab prevents aid from entering the areas they control. Aid agencies also avoid any areas of heavy fighting for the safety of their workers. 

From Reuters Alert Net, writer Katy Migiro describes the report further.  
In a survey of over 1,800 households carried out by Oxfam in South Central Somalia and Puntland, 72 percent of respondents were worried they would not have enough to eat over the next four months and 42 percent said they were already skipping meals.
“If we don’t continue the humanitarian aid that is currently getting in, then we could actually fall off the edge of the cliff again,” said Ed Pomfret, Oxfam’s Somalia campaign manager.
Somalia was at the epicentre of a hunger crisis that devastated swathes of the Horn of Africa last year. But Pomfret said the world’s attention had now shifted to the Sahel food crisis and conflict in the Great Lakes region and the Sudans.
More aid is going into Mogadishu where the security situation has improved since African Union forces ousted the al Qaeda-affiliated militant group al Shabaab last year. It is now a bustling city where bullet-riddled houses are slowly being repaired and replaced.
But most of the aid is short term and agencies still find it difficult to work outside the capital.
Although African Union forces and the Ethiopian military have pushed al Shabaab out of most major towns – taking the militia’s last stronghold, the port city of Kismayu, last month – the countryside is still largely under al Shabaab’s control.
Aid agencies have to negotiate access with various militias on the ground on a case-by-case basis.

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