Somalia (September 1995)
by Humanitarian Practice Network September 1995

Security problems in the port areas of Mogadishu and Kismayo persist, making access to food difficult for both resident and displaced populations. Continuing inter-clan hostilities mean that imports and distribution of food aid stocks in-country are hampering emergency aid responses. Despite recent claims of severe malnutrition and near starvation in the Kismayo area and displaced camps, a July nutritional survey carried out by MSF Belgium, in collaboration with UNICEF, World Concern, Muslim Aid UK and the Somali Red Crescent Society, found that the situation had not deteriorated since the last survey in September 1994. The main problems identified by the survey were: lack of employment opportunities, low purchasing power and a diminished ‘Gu’ season harvest. A WFP-FEWS survey in May found that in the Bay Region and along the middle and lower Shabelle river, only half the area was cultivated in comparison to the previous ‘Gu’ season. The patchy rainfall could mean that this year’s sorghum harvest is only 50% of 1994 levels. The populations most at risk from food shortages are in rural areas where inter-clan rivalries prevent the free movement of people, and lack of health care facilities compound the problem. Due to the particularly high levels of insecurity and inaccessibility in Mogadishu, international relief workers have not been able to work in the city. Supplementary feeding programmes are planned to reduce short-term nutrition problems but this depends on no interference from the militia.

However, a serious lack of food is not currently being felt at present. This period, prior to the main harvest is traditionally a hungry time when prices have a tendency to rise and the most immediate effect of this low harvest is more likely to be felt in urban areas in the form of higher prices.

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