News / Africa

    Aid Work in Somalia Continues Despite Violence

    Refugees from southern Somalia fill receptacles with rain water, at a refugee camp in Mogadishu, Somalia, September 5, 2011.
    Refugees from southern Somalia fill receptacles with rain water, at a refugee camp in Mogadishu, Somalia, September 5, 2011.
    Gabe Joselow

    The United Nations has cautioned that insecurity in Somalia continues to pose a challenge to aid workers, after a suicide bomber killed at least 72 people in the capital, Mogadishu. U.N. officials say, however, the attack has not stopped efforts to scale up assistance to those in need.

    The suicide bombing in Mogadishu, which targeted a compound containing government offices, but killed mostly students, came after a period of relative calm in the Somali capital.

    Government officials had said the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab had been driven out of Mogadishu, and aid agencies were taking advantage of the space to ramp up relief efforts for millions of Somalis affected by drought and famine.

    But al-Shabab showed it still has a presence in the Somali capital with Tuesday's bombing, which injured well over 100 people.

    Aid workers perservere

    The attack may have come as a surprise, said Kiki Gbeho, the head of office for the U.N. agency coordinating relief operations in Somalia. Gbeho said aid workers, though, were soon back to business as usual.

    “I was actually in Mogadishu the day of the blast, we all retreated to safe havens, we didn't move for 24 hours, but now operations are continuing as normal,” said Gbeho.

    A recent report from Gbeho's office, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Somalia, noted the recent security challenges and said aid workers feel they could achieve more if the security situation would improve.

    The report also says tensions have been rising between humanitarian agencies and al-Shabab officials in Somalia's Bay region, which is suffering from famine.

    Increasing access

    Despite al-Shabab's grip on some of the hardest-hit areas of Somalia, Gbeho said access has never been the problem.

    “Contrary to what some people believe, we have always had a certain degree of access throughout south Somalia, the problem is the degree: how much you have and the scale to which you can deliver," said Gbeho. "Our challenge at the moment is that we are not able to deliver at the scale required and as fast as we should.”

    The International Committee of the Red Cross in Somalia announced this week that it is scaling up relief activities in the country, despite the security concerns.

    ICRC spokesman Yves Van Loo said risk has always been a part of operating in Somalia.

    “We know that Somalia is still a war-affected country, so like everywhere in the world, of course we assess the security and we call to all warring parties to get a dialogue, so that's how we are performing our operations in Somalia. We explain about neutrality and independence, and we request a green light for all operations. We do not conduct any operation if the security cannot be guaranteed,” said Van Loo.

    The ICRC recently announced a new effort to distribute food aid to 1.1 million people in the worst-affected areas in southern and central Somalia. The U.N. says 4 million people are affected by the food crisis in Somalia, 3 million of them in the south.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora