October 31 2007
Somalia: NGOs cannot adequately respond to unfolding humanitarian catastrophe
30/10/2007 - SOS Children's Villages, along with more than 40 international and national humanitarian agencies working in Somalia, is highlighting the dramatic deterioration of the humanitarian situation in South Central Somalia and calling on those with a responsibility to protect civilians to act now to save lives.
Constrained access and deteriorating security is leaving international and national NGOs with little humanitarian space in which to operate in Somalia. All indicators point to a deterioration of the already dire humanitarian situation.
The following Statement of Concern was issued by more than 40 organisations working in Somalia:
"There is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in South Central Somalia. Tens of thousands of people are currently fleeing violence in Mogadishu adding to the up to 335,000 people already needing immediate lifesaving assistance in Mogadishu and the Shabelle regions. International and national NGOs cannot respond effectively to the crisis because access and security are deteriorating dramatically at a time when needs are increasing."
"The international community and all parties to the present conflict have a responsibility to protect civilians, to allow the delivery of aid and to respect humanitarian space and the safety of humanitarian workers."
SOS Children's Villages has been active in Somalia since the middle of the 1980s. An SOS Children's Village, a kindergarten, youth facility and school for around 350 children are located in the south of Mogadishu. Despite heavy fighting and the complete chaos around the city following the outbreak of civil war in 1991, SOS Children's Villages continued its work at a time when almost all the other aid organisations had left the country.
The large aid and food programme that was launched at that time gradually became a permanent facility which includes a mother and child clinic, a paediatric unit and a food programme. Every year there are around 300,000 treatments. ECHO and the United Nations World Food Programme are supporting these projects.
SOS Children's Villages' facilities have been caught up in the conflict again and again over the past years. During the heavy fighting in Mogadishu in April this year, parts of the SOS Children's Village and a hospital ward full of wounded people were shelled.
The above statement has been signed by the following agencies:
Advancement for Small Enterprise Programmes (ASEP)
Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA)
Africa Rescue Committee (AFREC)
Agency for Technical Cooperation & Development (ACTED)
Centre for Peace and Democracy (CPD)
Concern Worldwide Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI)
Coordinating Committee of the Organisation for Voluntary Service (COSV)
Danish Refugee Council (DRC)
Diahonia Emergency Aid
Family Economic Recovery Organisation (FERO)
Gedo Health Consortium (GHC)
HARDO Relief and Development Organisation
Horn Relief International Aid Services (IAS)
International Committee for the Development of People (CISP)
International Medical Corps (IMC)
Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
Save the Children UK
SOS Children's Villages
Swedish Alliance Welfare Association (SAWA)
Veterinaries Sans Frontieres Suisse (VSF Suisse)
Welthungerhilfe/German Agro Action (DWWHH/GAA)
World Vision International