UN officials have yet to finalize their assessment of the full humanitarian needs of Somalia following the December tsunami. At the same time, humanitarian efforts continue for the country as a whole.
Maxwell Gaylard is the UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia. From Nairobi, he gave English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua an update on the tsunami relief efforts.
He says, “Very soon after the tsunami struck on the 26th of December, as the United Nations we had preliminary assessment teams in there, or emergency assessment. And on the basis of that we started to help the Somalilanders, particularly in the Puntland area of the Indian Ocean coastline. We helped with emergency food, emergency water, emergency health. Now that operation has been going on since then. But now what we’ve got on the ground there as we speak is a multi-agency, multi-sectoral assessment mission, which is looking to see if there are any gaps in our emergency relief efforts. And also to start to look at the mid to longer term rehabilitation and recovery for the areas affected.”
That assessment team is expected to return to Nairobi within the next week and report to Mr. Gaylard soon after. “We will then advise the international community and of course the Somalis themselves what our picture is. It’s actually a United Nations, NGO effort supported by international donors,” he says.
The UN official says there are no updated figures yet on damage estimates or casualty figures. More than 30,000 people are receiving aid. Early casualty figures ranged up to 200 deaths.