March 17 2008

SOS Hospital and Hermann Gmeiner School reopen in Mogadishu

17/03/2008 - The SOS Hospital and the SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary and Secondary School have reopened after three months of closure.

After three months of closure following insecurity at the SOS Children's Village Mogadishu the SOS Hospital has reopened. Ahmed Ibrahim, director of SOS Children's Villages Somalia, reported that he discussed the situation with the hospital staff who were unanimous in wanting to return to work at the hospital. They said that the security situation around the hospital had improved enough to allow them to do so. 

On 13 March staff began the cleaning up process and on the following day the hospital reopened. On the first day of opening, hospital staff treated 95 outpatients and delivered six new babies. 

At the same time the SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary and Secondary School has reopened, but in temporary premises, due to the fact that the children from the SOS Children's Village are still living in temporary accommodation in relatively safer parts of the city. Despite the short notice and the interim facilities 150 children attended school on its first day of reopening. Ahmed Ibrahim expects that figure to grow as word gets around that the school has reopened.

Village reopening depends on security

As for the children's village itself, Ahmed Ibrahim is still unsure of when the children and mothers might return to their homes. He said that as this is the last term for the 2007/2008 academic year the SOS children will remain in their temporary accommodation until the school closes at the end of July. Only then will they think about relocating the children and the school back to the village. Returning is also dependant on the security situation which will be monitored very closely now that the hospital has reopened.

 Ahmed Ibrahim added, "The situation is still tense, armed clashes happen on a daily basis and people are terrified by roadside bombs. Despite all that", he concluded "We are optimistic that the leaders are committed to seriously addressing insecurity issues".