Violence continues to claim lives in Somali capital, UN says

5 March 2010 – The ongoing clashes in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, continue to spark the concern of the United Nations, which reported today that violence this week claimed some 35 lives.

Dozens more were wounded in the 2 to 3 March fighting between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and insurgents.

Since 1 February, nearly 26,000 people have been forced to escape violence in the capital, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The agency continues to register new Somali refugees in neighbouring Kenya. Just this week, 900 Somalis were registered as they entered the country, on top of the more than 8,000 who have been registered since the start of the year.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that following six consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall in the Galgaduud region of central Somalia, pastoralists have lost their livestock and are travelling to urban areas in search of assistance. They have little food and cannot sell their remaining livestock, which are in no condition to be sold.

Further, the Office reported, insecurity has thwarted access to those in need of humanitarian aid.

On the health front, the second round of a UN-backed health campaign aiming to reach 430,000 children under the age of five and 480,000 women of child-bearing age began this week in southern Somalia.

The start of the latest Child Health Days – which will also provide nutritional screenings and immunizations against measles and polio – was pushed back by three months due to funding shortages, and there are concerns that insecurity will prevent children from accessing the campaign.

For its part, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners have distributed almost 500 metric tons of food to 61,000 people in the self-declared autonomous region of Somaliland.

[original]

spotted by RS

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