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Situation Continues to Deteriorate in Mogadishu


The International Committee of the Red Cross reported the humanitarian situation for people in the Somali capital, Mogadishu is continuing to worsen. It said dozens of people have been killed, hundreds wounded and thousand more forced to flee since the intensification of armed clashes early this month.

Spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Florian Westphal, said numbers tell the story. He said the number of wounded people arriving at Mogadishu's two main hospitals clearly indicates the scale of the crisis.

"Whereas the two hospitals in Mogadishu, which the ICRC supports-Medina and Keysaney-since the beginning of the year have treated about 1,500 war wounded in total, of that figure 650 were admitted and treated since the 7th of May," he said. "And, I think that gives a pretty clear indication of how bad the situation has gotten. The capacities of these hospitals is stretched. But, for the time being, they are coping," he added.

The Somali Red Crescent manages the hospitals, but the ICRC has been supporting them for many years. The hospitals accept patients from all backgrounds, regardless of their clan, political or religious affiliation.

Westphal said the ICRC has delivered 50 tons of medical supplies to these facilities since the beginning of the year. He said it is important that they have a stockpile of medicaments on hand because during periods of acute fighting there usually is no access to these hospitals.

He said thousands of people, many women and children, have been forced to flee Mogadishu. Among them, he said, are people who have become displaced a second time.

"This includes people who only very recently returned to Mogadishu after having been displaced. And, clearly these people are finding themselves in a very, very difficult situation in terms of the locations they are fleeing to," he explaiined. "I think after this seemingly never-ending crisis in Somalia, the capacity of host communities to actually still absorb and support this population of displaced people has, obviously, been drastically reduced. Their own coping mechanisms are down and it is very difficult to reach them," he said.

The Red Cross reported there are pockets of violence in other parts of the country. It said armed clashes have driven people from their homes in several cities in central and southern Somalia.

Westphal said the ICRC has assisted some 230,000 internally displaced people since January. He added many of the displaced remain without any protection, shelter, food or even utensils with which to prepare a meal.

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