The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, along with its partners, said they are ready to assist the thousands of displaced Somalis from Afgooye who are arriving in Mogadishu as a result of military activity in the area.
So far, just over 10,000 people have reached the Somali capital, but the humanitarian community has prepared enough supplies for the thousands more that are expected to arrive.
“UNHCR and our partners on the ground in Mogadishu have a contingency plan in place that can cater up to 120,000 people, which is about 20,000 families. So we are ready to distribute emergency items to those people who make their way to Mogadishu. But at the moment we’ve only seen about 14,000 people being displaced in total,” explained Andy Needham, UNHCR public information officer in Nairobi.
Needham said any type of military activity will cause displacement, but at the moment the biggest group of displaced was seen when military activity commenced and peaked about 3-4 days ago. Now, he said movement has plateaued.
Those trying to get to Mogadishu are using any means necessary to get from the Afgooye corridor to Mogadishu.
Needham said the displaced are arriving in all forms of transportation, “anything from donkey carts to jumping on the back of a truck or lorry, or those people that have some money or means, will perhaps book a seat on a mini bus or van.”
The UNHCR and its partners are providing provisions which include food, water and shelter.
“We are supplying emergency shelter items, so very basic items to you and me, but to these people they can be life-saving. We’re talking about plastic sheets so they can put a roof over their head, blankets and sleeping mats so they can sleep and put their children down. We’re also supplying jerry cans for water and kitchen sets, pots, pans, plates and cutlery,” said Needham.
Needham said the displaced Somalis are arriving in good health, generally because people have not had to travel as far as they did last year when they had to trek for hundreds of miles to get to refugee camps.