UN says fresh fighting displaced 50,000 in Somalia
NAIROBI, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The UN top relief official for Somalia said on Monday that fresh fighting in Somalia has uprooted another 50,000 Somalis, further worsening the already severe humanitarian crisis.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Mark Bowden also voiced grave concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the strife-torn nation, where fresh clashes last week have reportedly killed more than 40 people and displaced over 50,000.
According to a UN news release on Monday, about 90 percent of the population of Dhuusamarreeb and Guriceel towns, in Galgaduud region in central Somalia, have fled their homes since fighting began on Dec. 27, 2008.
Many of them had already been displaced due to previous violence in the capital, Mogadishu. "I am extremely alarmed by the fighting that has taken place in central Somalia during the past week," said Bowden.
"I strongly condemn the unacceptable number of casualties and massive displacement of civilians who continue to bear the brunt of conflict and insecurity in the country."
Bowden called for a cessation of all hostilities to allow urgently needed humanitarian assistance to be provided to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Dhuusamarreeb and Guriceel, as well as in other parts of Somalia, where the UN estimates that some 3.2 million people, or 40 percent of the population, are in need of assistance.
The majority of those recently displaced are scattered in the surrounding villages and are in desperate need of shelter, water, non-food items and food assistance, according to the news release issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The situation for the recently displaced is made worse by a general lack of humanitarian access in Galgaduud region due to deteriorating security.
The recent fighting has worsened an already grave humanitarian crisis in Galgaduud region, which is experiencing a serious drought in addition to hosting some 130,000 IDPs from Mogadishu.
The capital Mogadishu has witnessed a rise in security incidents, with nearly 20 people killed in different locations on Dec. 30 alone.
Last week also saw three attacks against humanitarian workers, including hand grenades thrown into the Mogadishu compound of the UN Development Program (UNDP).
Armed groups forcibly entered the World Food Program (WFP) premises in the town of Marka, south of Mogadishu.
Somalia, which has not had a functioning government since 1991,has been plagued by fighting and humanitarian suffering for decades.