East Africa Famine: SOS Children Village is looted
The abandoned SOS Children’s Village in Mogadishu, Somalia, has been looted.
The Village was vacated and children and staff moved to a safe location in October when fighting between transitional government and al-Shaabab forces erupted near the village and SOS Hospital – and an SOS Children laundry worker was killed by a mortar shell.
Doors of every family house in the Village have been damaged and windows broken. The maintenance and administrative offices have been ransacked.
Details of who may have been responsible are being kept confidential to avoid jeopardising the relationships SOS Children has with different political factions in Mogadishu – and so SOS Children workers can continue their emergency relief efforts in the area.
Sixteen aid agencies – UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, among them – have been banned from operating in the country by al-Shaabab who accuse some NGOs of exaggerating the scale of the problems for political reasons and to raise money. SOS Children, which has been operating in Somalia for more than 20 years and has built relationships with all political factions, is not blacklisted.
Both the SOS Village and the SOS Hospital, which are in neighbouring compounds, have remained inaccessible to SOS Children since October 10 because of insecurity. However, SOS Children has been able to open a small temporary health clinic nearby to provide outpatient therapeutic feeding services.
“Insecurity remains and will continue to be one of the key contributors to the current food and livelihood security crisis in Somalia,” says Ahmed Ibrahim, National Director, SOS Children, Somalia. “In Mogadishu, the situation has rapidly deteriorated since October when suicide explosions killed and wounded dozens of people.”
Ahmed says drought-affected regions in Somalia have continued to receive heavy rain since early October, increasing the risk of flooding and waterborne diseases such as acute watery diarrhoea and cholera.
Listen to a podcast interview with Ahmed Ibrahim: