AFRICA/SOMALIA - A million internally displaced persons: a problem that needs to be addressed urgently according to Caritas Somalia

Friday, 4 January 2013

Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) - "The internally displaced people are the main victims of the conflict and are still the biggest problem in the Country," says the latest report of Caritas Somalia sent to Fides Agency.
Despite the formation of a new government and the improvement of the security situation in some areas of the Country, in Somalia, at least one million people live in camps for displaced people. The majority of the displaced come from the region of Juba (42%), Banadir (15%), Shabele (13%), Bay, Bakool and Gedo (15%); the remainder from other parts of the Country.
The number of Somali refugees abroad has reduced both for the growing insecurity in the border areas and, on the contrary, for the improvement of safety conditions within Somalia.
The most insecure areas are those of the south central part of the Country where the presence of groups linked to the Shabaab causes several violent clashes with security forces AMISOM (the African Mission in Somalia to which the Kenyan troops operating in the area since October 2011 have joined) and those of the government in Mogadishu. The clashes cause a restriction on freedom of movement for humanitarian organizations and on normal commercial activities.
In Mogadishu, the large number of displaced persons poses serious problems for local authorities. Several people who had illegally occupied public buildings have been rejected in the central part of the Country, while UNICEF reports that street children (at least 5,000) in the capital are at the mercy of drugs, crime and abuse. The Warlords have also reappeared after the Shabaab left the capital, and exercise control and extortion attempts against the displaced people living in camps in the area of Mogadishu.
This does not prevent Caritas Somalia to continue its activities in collaboration with its local partners (such as WAANO, Women in Action Against Malnutrition) and international (Trócaire, Caritas Switzerland and CRS). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 04/01/2013)