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New Estimate Says 100,000 Have Fled Mogadishu

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – or OCHA – says it’s extremely alarmed about deteriorating conditions for civilians in Mogadishu.

Graham Farmer of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization is the acting humanitarian coordinator for Somalia. From Nairobi, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about conditions in Somalia’s capital.

“Although there’s been a lull in the fighting over the past two days, the situation is very severe for those people that don’t have the ability to move out of the city. And also we need to use the opportunity to get increased humanitarian access to people in Mogadishu and the surrounding areas,” he says.

Just last week, the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, had estimated about 57,000 people had fled Mogadishu since February due to fighting and insecurity. That estimate now has nearly doubled. “That’s correct and the UNHCR estimate is that around 47,000 have left since the 21st of March alone. So in the past two weeks we’ve seen an additional 47,000 people leaving Mogadishu,” he says.

Many don’t have access to food, shelter or health facilities. OCHA is appealing to the warring parties to allow access to humanitarian agencies. It calls on them to “act with humanity.”