NGOs say nearly half the population of Somalia needs emergency aid. And the need is increasing because of extreme insecurity, drought and record high food prices. The situation is expected to deteriorate further, with regular Somalis bearing the brunt of the problem.
Suying Lai, policy advisor for OXFAM International in The Hague in the Netherlands, described how insecurity is affecting humanitarian assistance. Lai said, "At the moment, because of the increasing insecurity, they are increasing road blocks, meaning they are increasing attacks on aid workers and kidnapping aid workers.
She continued, "It's becoming increasingly difficult for the different international and local aid agencies to provide assistance to the Somalis in need. At this moment there are actually more than three million Somalis who are dependent on humanitarian aid. And more than one million will be internally displaced people."
Lai says NGOs expect the conflict to continue into the year 2009, which also means people will continue to need aid, while space for aid agencies to operate is shrinking.