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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More