Somalia - ReliefWeb News
Abnormal dryness has settled in across eastern Southern Africa due to a poor rainfall distribution during November.
1) While some local areas observed some moisture recovery along the Jubba River basin in southern Somalia during mid-November, the absence of precipitation in October has led to significant moisture deficits across many parts of southern Somalia and eastern Kenya. This dryness is likely to negatively impact the development of crops, and pastoral conditions with little opportunity for recovery before the end of the rains season.
2) Wet episodes over eastern Ethiopia and central Somalia during mid-November have led to downstream flooding and elevated water river levels along the Shabelle River, particularly the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia.
3) During November, poorly-distributed rainfall has resulted in growing moisture deficits and deteriorating ground conditions over many local areas of west-central Tanzania. Moderate rains are forecast across the region during the next seven days, which may help to relieve dry conditions.
4) A prolonged delay of the onset of the rainy season and erratic rainfall distribution during November have resulted in developing dryness across eastern Zambia, southern Malawi, and western Mozambique. Suppressed rainfall is forecast over the region during the next week, which could worsen conditions on the ground.
Current major event
Call for strengthening surveillance for SARI
There has been a renewed call to strengthen surveillance for severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) in the countries of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region. This was the main recommendation of a recently concluded intercountry meeting of the Eastern Mediterranean Acute Respiratory Infection Surveillance Network held at Sharm-El-Shaikh, Egypt from 24-27 November 2013.
Fadumo Abshir is a 26 year old mother with three children, all under the age of five. She lives with her family in Elayo village, situated along the coastal belt of Eastern Sanaag, in Somalia. Until recently, Fadumo’s husband worked as a metal technician, and his wages allowed him to provide for his family.
Last year, Fadumo’s husband suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered. Fadumo now cares for him with help from his elderly mother. “My husband’s hard work meant that he was able to feed our family. When he became disabled, I became desperate and started looking for all sorts of work opportunities.”
Fadumo was finally able to open a small teashop in Elayo where she was selling tea and Kibis (a local bread) to the local fishing community. Through this petty trade she earned a small income and was able to buy the basic food items needed to feed her family.
Everything changed when a Cyclone hit the northeastern coast of Somalia on November 8th. The floods that followed damaged her home and destroyed her small business.
“When my home started collapsing because of the heavy rains and strong wind I started crying, thinking I was going to lose my family. I called for help in the dark. Water was everywhere and it was so cold. Luckily, local people heard my cry and came to rescue us. We found shelter in a nearby hut already full of other people in the same situation.”
As a result of the storm, other community members had their homes and assets damaged, including local fishermen who lost their equipment.
The floods washed away Fadumo’s tea kiosk and everything inside, including all her utensils and cooking materials. Fadumo now has to rely on meals provided by local community members, who might not be able to continue feeding her and her family for much longer. “We share meals with our neighbors, but that is not going to last long. I want to be able to rebuild my home and restart my business so I can provide for my family.”
Thousands of families like Fadumo’s were affected by the Cyclone in Somalia, and now need help to rebuild what they have lost. To find out how you can help, click here.
In Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that an estimated 126,000 people have died during the conflict, more than a third of them civilians. Meanwhile, Turkey and Iran, which support opposing sides within the crisis, jointly called for a ceasefire before the beginning of the peace talks, set for 22 January in Geneva.
In the Philippines, an estimated 14.9 million people have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan to date, according to OCHA. The number of displaced currently stands at 4.13 million, but people continue to move from the worst affected areas in search of aid, and humanitarian partners in regions VI and VIII indicated that assistance is not sufficiently reaching remote areas. The death toll currently stands at 5,632 people, with another 1,759 still reported as missing.
Seasonal rains in Somalia caused flooding in the plain of Middle Shabelle, where a major frontline between African Union troops and the armed group Al Shabaab is limiting the provision of assistance. To date, rising water levels and violence have displaced 90,000 people in the area.
Last Updated: 03/12/2013 Next Update: 10/12/2013
Countries in the East and Central Africa Region are leading in the implementation of the IPC worldwide. The IPC was originally developed in 2004 in Somalia by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and based on the success of its use to inform decision making, the IPC spread to neighboring countries. Since 2007, countries in the region have received support in implementing the IPC, and today ten countries lead acute analysis two to four times a year: Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Building on years of implementation, the IPC has become a reference in the region for evidence-based and comparable food security analysis. This has been achieved through a true partnership between government, humanitarian and development actors in building technical consensus. IPC products form an essential component of country early warning systems; they are used by national Governments, donors and the humanitarian community including UN and NGOs, for both emergency interventions and development policies.
IPC activities in countries are led by multi-partner IPC Technical Working Groups, chaired by government, and technically supported by regional technical coordinators. The IPC initiative in the region is guided by a multi-agency IPC Regional Steering Committee embedded in the regional Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG), and chaired by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), who will also soon be representing the region in the IPC Global Steering Committee.
After two regional projects funded by ECHO, the IPC has proved its relevance and sustainability as it continues to be implemented thanks to the contributions from national and regional partners and is increasingly institutionalized within Governments. The IPC Version 2.0 has been successfully introduced in all countries in 2012, and the IPC certification is proceeding to build a sustainable pool of IPC analysts and trainers-facilitators. This is part of a strategic orientation, together with continuous progress in strengthening the partnership and leadership of the Government, and increasing impact on decision-making both at national and regional levels.
During the week ending on 2th December, 2013, there was a significant reduction of rainfall activities within the Juba and Shabelle river basins inside Somalia. Most stations did not record any rains except Jowhar in Middle Shabelle and Jamame in Lower Juba regions.
General Situation during November 2013
Forecast until mid-January 2014
The Desert Locust situation worsened during November along the Red Sea coast and in northwest Mauritania. Locusts continue to gregarize and form hopper bands and groups of hoppers and adults in Mauritania, Yemen, and Sudan as well as in Eritrea where an outbreak developed unexpectedly. Afew swarms formed in Sudan and Yemen. Control operations intensified in all countries. Nevertheless, a second generation of breeding will cause locust infestations to increase further in December and January. More hopper bands and small swarms are likely to form along both sides of the Red Sea and, to a lesser extent, in northwest Mauritania. All efforts are required to reduce locust numbers and the potential threat to crops in the affected countries.
Somalia - Two weeks after a tropical cyclone struck the northeast coast of Puntland State of Somalia with unforeseen ferocity, the government estimates that over 35,000 people have been affected by the disaster and are at risk of destitution and hunger.
About a hundred and fifty people have been reported dead or missing, thousands of head of sheep, goats, and camels have been killed – the basis for livelihood and survival of most of the local community – infrastructure lies in ruins, and fears of an outbreak of waterborne diseases are intensifying.
“For three days almost 10 years of progress were hanging in the balance – we watched schools and health facilities being washed away by the heavy rainfall,” reported Hussein Hassan, Head of IOM’s sub-office in Garowe, Puntland.
Details on the damage are only now emerging because part of the main tarmac road was swept away and some remote areas have been hard to reach. But so far, the assessment team, including IOM, ministries and agencies, observed that there is considerable damage on infrastructure and huge loss of livestock with dead bodies of animals everywhere in the epicenter with a strong stench of decaying flesh.
Furthermore, 14 water points including borehole wells were reported to have been destroyed to varying degrees in the districts of Eyl and Dangorayo.
“Given that Puntland is a semi-arid region, it rarely rains but when it does, to the extent that was seen, the impact is devastating,” said Hussein Gadain, the Chief Technical Advisor for FAO’s Somalia Water and Land Information Management unit (SWALIM).
In liaison with local authorities, IOM and health cluster partners rapidly deployed medical teams to provide emergency medical and food assistance to the affected communities. IOM teams reached out to 495 beneficiaries with dry food supplies while 5,000 gained full access to emergency medical assistance.
“There is a pressing need for access to clean, safe, and hygienic drinking water. We are already receiving cases of diarrhoea and infectious diseases from the affected districts. In order to address the water shortage problems, we need to start water tracking and rehabilitation of water points. Our resources are limited so we appeal to our partners to assist us in addressing these pressing issues," pleaded Dr. Ali Abdullahi Warsame, Puntland’s Minister of Health.
“The immediate humanitarian need is great, and will increase as many basic commodities are in short supply. Health facilities, schools and light infrastructure no longer stand where they used to, and as a result many women, children, and men have been left vulnerable to water-borne illnesses. Furthermore, the situation is heightened by the massive loss of livestock which is one of the local communities’ main sources of livelihoods, families are running out of food supplies, and to compound matters, landmines from the Somali civil war are being unearthed by mudslides and floods, leaving many families in a precarious situation,” said Ali Abdi, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission.
IOM is planning longer term efforts to restock the affected pastoral communities, to support their economic recovery, and the restoration of livelihoods. IOM is also planning to actively participate in health systems strengthening in areas affected by the cyclone. A medical team consisting of qualified and auxiliary nurses and midwives will be participating in a three-month project to expand access of the affected communities to integrated Primary Health Care services.
For more information, please contact
Hussein Hassan IOM Sub-Office in Garowe, Puntland Email: email@example.com
Addis Ababa December 3/2013 Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs said over 100,000 additional refuges are expected to enter into the country in 2014. Administration Deputy Director Ayalew Awoke told ENA that 200 million USD is needed in a bid to provide basic services for the refugees excluding food. Ethiopia is now hosting 430,000 refugees from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan at refugee camps in Tigray, Benuishangul Gumuz, Afar and Somali states. He said 8,000 refugees in average are entering into the country per month, he said. The Director said 200 million USD is needed to cover the cost for provision of basic service for the refugees excluding food.
As highlighted in October, the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum predicted an increased probability of near average to below-average September to December (Deyr) rainfall across much of Somalia. Rains began in October, but spatial and temporal distributions were erratic and the total amounts of rainfall received were low (FEWSNET). Rains only reached sufficient levels for planting in mid-November.
Newly identified areas of concern are Middle and Lower Juba and Gedo where planting is several weeks later than normal which may interfere with the development of crucial cereal crops (FEWSNET). Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) analysis for October also shows below normal vegetation in Gedo, Middle and Lower Juba (FSNAU). Although vegetative levels have achieved average levels in November, late planting is coupled with incidents of flooding on the Juba River reduce the overall volume of crop production in much of the Middle and Lower Juba and Gedo. Overall the Deyr harvest is expected to be below average in Southern Somalia (FSNAU).
FSC is working with its membership to see what the current level of planned responses in agropastoral and riverine Middle and Lower Juba and Gedo through April 2014. An update to this alert will be circulated shortly once the magnitude of the gap for FSC response objectives Improved Access and Livelihood Investment, specifically asset construction, is known.
Mogadishu, 2 December 2013 – UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia Nicholas Kay paid tribute today to Somalia’s outgoing Prime Minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid, and noted the responsible role played by the Federal Parliament and the Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari in handling the "no confidence" motion.
"It was important this unprecedented piece of parliamentary business was managed in accordance with the provisional constitution and the rules of procedure of the Parliament," he said.
"Somalia’s institutions are coming of age. The UN is here to support their development, and looks forward to working constructively with the new administration. Outgoing Prime Minister Shirdon had worked hard to promote growth and progress and played an important part in creating the New Deal Compact between international partners and Somalia."
SRSG Kay further noted the urgency of nominating and appointing a new Prime Minister as quickly as possible to maintain political and state-building progress in Somalia. "I hope the President will consult widely before choosing. It is in all our interests that the next PM and government is broadly inclusive, able to unite the country and capable of delivering what Somalia needs – peace, rule of law, economic growth and good public services."
He also urged the Federal Parliament to make a supreme effort in the public interest to make progress on the many law-making and other constitutional tasks that the country urgently needs.
"Over the coming years, it is important that Parliament, Government and the Presidency continue to work constructively together in full respect for the Provisional Federal Constitution," SRSG Kay noted.
12/02/2013 04:13 GMT
by Mustafa HAJI ABDINUR
MOGADISHU, December 2, 2013 (AFP) - The bullet-scarred streets of Somalia's war-ravaged capital are rife with danger, but after two decades of anarchy, the besieged residents can now at least call the police if there is a problem.
Colonel Yusuf Mohamed Farah sweeps open his arms wide, proudly showing off the busy operation centre of the new emergency police telephone hotline: a small and simple room with a single telephone, high frequency radio, a table and two chairs, and a battery to keep operating during regular power cuts.
"It is not an easy task, but it is a good thing that we have done in installing the 888 emergency number... and it is going well," said 46-year-old Farah, head of public relations for Somalia's police.
"We are receiving so many calls every day, with people asking us for assistance."
Since the collapse of Somalia's hardline government in 1991, the only option if there was a problem would be to beg for help from the local warlord to send his gunmen.
But the new 888 emergency number set up this month is receiving at least 40 calls a day from across Mogadishu's 16 districts.
In the sweltering heat of the cramped operations room, the walls peeling with flaking paint, officers operate the simple equipment trying to react to emergency situations in Mogadishu, one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
Farah, who worked as a security officer in the military regime toppled in 1991, insists the hotline is a step forward.
"It is a good restart... Many of the public are calling the 888 line every day, to give either information or report an emergency," he said.
Islamists stage regular attacks
Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents launch regular suicide bombings or commando attacks, while the sea-side capital is awash with guns and ordinary crime. Rape of women is especially rampant.
But since the Islamist Shebab fled city trenches over two years ago, in Mogadishu at least, there has been some progress, with a stream of investors and the streets now crowded with labourers rebuilding houses shattered by years of bitter fighting.
But after so many years out of operation, setting up an emergency number has some teething problems.
"Many people make calls, but some of them are wrong callers, and then others will call only to ask you questions," grumbled Ahmed Abdi, a police officer who works at the centre.
"But some really are calling in to report an emergency... We are still working to tell people what we do, so people will be more familiar with the importance of the 888 line."
As Abdi speaks, the telephone rings, and he rushes to pick up the receiver.
This time, another false alarm, as down a crackling line the caller is looking for a mobile telephone company -- who used to operate the 888 number as their own helpline -- to ask for help with her connection.
The Somali government this month asked that the line be returned to the police for emergency use, but many callers still dial the number expecting advice or complaints on their phone service.
The operator yet again patiently explains the line is now being used by the police.
"We have cars used for emergencies, in the case of a call we send these cars to respond to the incident if it is possible," Farah said.
On Mogadishu's streets, the public appear to welcome the idea, though many say they remain dubious of how effective it will be, and that they doubt the police will really respond.
"A friend told me the 888 line is working these days so I tried it, but unfortunately it was ringing out with no answer... I know it is just the beginning, but for now I don't think they have the capacity," said Mogadishu resident Mohamed Nur Ali.
"It is better you run and go direct to the police station instead of wasting time on telephone calls, because I don't believe they are ready yet for that," another resident Said Muktar said.
"How can they respond while they don't even have the proper police vehicles?" he added.
© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse
Agrafer les marchés alimentaires en Afrique de l'Est: Le maïs blanc est la céréale de base principale consommées en Tanzanie, au Kenya et en Ethiopie. En Ouganda, le maïs blanc est cultivé principalement en tant que culture commerciale pour l'exportation dans la région. Le riz importé est un aliment de base majeur pour Djibouti et la Somalie, qui consomment principalement Belem-le riz importé rouge. La Tanzanie est également un producteur majeur et source de riz dans la région tandis que le Kenya et l'Ouganda sont de petits producteurs. Les deux rouges et le sorgho blanc sont produits et consommés dans la région. Ceci est un aliment de base important au Soudan, Djibouti et la Somalie ainsi que dans d'autres zones agricoles marginales de la région. C'est aussi une céréale de substitution chez les pauvres ruraux. Le sorgho rouge est principalement cultivée en Ethiopie, au Soudan et en Somalie, et c’est le type préféré pour les ménages à Djibouti. Les haricots sont une source importante de protéines et d'une culture vivrière complémentaires cultivé dans les zones à fort potentiel agricole du Kenya, en Ouganda, en Tanzanie, au Rwanda, au Burundi et en Ethiopie. Elle est consommée entre les types de ménages. Le maïs et les haricots sont les produits les plus commercialisés dans la région. La banane est l’aliment de base primaire en Ouganda. L'Ouganda est également une source principale de types de cuisine et d'autres bananes commercialisées dans la région surtout dans le Sud-Soudan.
Toutefois, les bananes ne sont pas des échanges presque aussi fortement que le maïs ou les haricots.
Reporters Without Borders condemns leading journalist Abdiimalik Yusuf’s arbitrary detention since 24 November, when security forces arrested him in the capital, Mogadishu.
The head of Shabelle Media Network (the owner of Radio Shabelle), Yusuf is being held in the same Mogadishu prison where Radio Shabelle reporter Mohamed Bashir has been held since 20 November.
“The prolonged detention of these two journalists and the broadcasting ban imposed on Radio Shabelle testify to a government determination to gag independent journalists,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is unacceptable that Yusuf and Bashir have not yet been brought before a judge.”
“Their conditions in Mogadishu’s main prison are also intolerable and we fear the worst. We call on the authorities to free them at once and allow Radio Shabelle to resume broadcasting."
Yusuf and Bashir began a hunger strike on 27 November.
The two journalists with state-owned Radio Mogadishu who had been accused of rape in an interview conducted by Bashir were arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department on 24 November but were released within hours.
According to some sources, their release was a result of the interior minister’s intervention.
Yusuf was arrested later the same day after criticizing the interior minister on the Shabelle website. By talking to the BBC Somali service’s correspondent, he was alleged to have violated the conditions of his release on bail on 20 November.
21.11.2013 - Authorities arrest journalist, keep hounding Radio Shabelle
Reporters Without Borders deplores Radio Shabelle journalist Mohamed Bashir Hashi’s arrest yesterday and the government’s continuing harassment of this radio station and other independent media.
Hashi had posted a video on the Radio Shabelle website in which he interviewed a young female reporter describing her alleged rape by two male journalists. Hashi and the woman were later arrested after one of the two incriminated journalists filed a complaint against them.
“We call on the authorities to immediately release Hashi and the young woman he interviewed,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This arrest shows the government’s determination to silence any form of criticism, whatever the subject. It also shows the urgency of the need for the government to review its priorities on human rights and freedom of information.”
“We welcome the response from the United Nations, which stressed the importance of freedom of information, and we urge the international community to adopt concrete measures to ensure respect for this freedom, which is constantly flouted in what is Africa’s deadliest country for journalists.”
Abdiimalik Yusuf, the head of Shabelle Media Network that owns Radio Shabelle, was also briefly arrested yesterday on the pretext that the camera used to film the interview belonged to Radio Shabelle Yusuf was released but Hashi and the woman are still held.
This is not the first time that the authorities have arrested a rape victim who dared to denounce her attackers. Another young girl and the journalist who interviewed her were sentenced to a year in prison in February. They were eventually released two months later following international criticism.
Commenting on the latest rape allegation and arrests, UN special representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay yesterday described “legal representation, proper investigation and media freedom” as “important issues.”
Radio Shabelle’s website is the station’s only remaining space for free expression as it has been unable to broadcast since 26 October, when the police evicted its journalists from its offices and seized its equipment.
Reporters Without Borders and members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) had reacted to the eviction threat by sending an open letter  to the Somali authorities and western governments. It has not received a reply.
The authorities finally allowed Radio Shabelle employees into the station’s former premises on 16 November in order to recover radio and video equipment but they found it all damaged and unusable.
The information ministry is meanwhile reported to have explicitly refused to give Radio Shabelle a broadcasting permit, although it has issued permits to other Mogadishu-based radio stations.
Somali is ranked 175th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
Photo : Mohamed Bashir Hashi
Somalia’s New Deal Compact was finalized and presented in Brussels, gaining the support from the international Community, pledging US$ 2.7 billion.
By the end of September 2013, 170 Wild Polio Virus cases had been confirmed in Somalia. The seventh round of Supplementary Immunization Activities (SIAs) in response to the outbreak was conducted between 15 and 20 September, reaching 3,295,372 beneficiaries. The Polio Response is showing some results in that, by the end of September, it had been 10 weeks since the last case of Polio had been reported in Banadir (the epicenter of the outbreak).
The G2S campaign was successfully launched, simultaneously, in all three zones on 8 September 2013. The event was attended by high level Somali Government delegates (including the President of the Federal Government of Somalia in the Mogadishu meeting), UN agencies, donor representatives and Civil Society Organizations.
A US$ 19 million contribution from Educate a Child (EAC), part of the Qatar Foundation, was approved for the Go-2-School (G2S) Initiative.
120 Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivors were assisted by UNICEF partners with psychosocial support, medical assistance and/or referral to medical assistance.
-In September, the number of people in Crisis and Emergency was deemed to be the lowest since famine was declared in parts of Central South Somalia in 2011. Despite improvements in food security, acute malnutrition rates continue to remain very high.
There was a significant increase in numbers being reported for key HIV indicators during September as compared to August 2013. The number of people receiving Voluntary Counseling and Testing services (VCT) for HIV across Somalia rose from 18,306, by the end of August, to 25,724 by the end of September.
Zonal Mid-Term Reviews across programme sectors were conducted with participation of the relevant Government representatives, as well as implementing partners and sister UN agencies.
Mogadishu, 30 November 2013 - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, has expressed his deep concern at the recent outbreak of violence in the northern region of Sool. "Violence cannot and will not resolve political issues. All those with a stake in the area must show calm and pursue reconciliation," said SRSG Kay.
SRSG Kay deplored the loss of life and offered his condolences to the families of those killed in recent clashes.
"Political differences and competing claims should be solved by dialogue. Peace and stability are also critical to the Puntland election process", he added.
SRSG Kay and UNSOM colleagues are in touch with regional leaders to urge restraint and offer support for dialogue and reconciliation.
Staple Food Markets in East Africa: White maize is the main staple grain consumed in Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia. In Uganda, white maize is grown mainly as a commercial crop for export in the region. Imported rice is a major staple for Djibouti and Somalia, which mainly consume belem—the imported red rice. Tanzania is also a major producer and source of rice in the region while Kenya and Uganda are minor producers. Both red and white sorghum are produced and consumed in the region. This is an important staple in Sudan, Djibouti and Somalia as well as in other marginal agricultural areas of the region. It is also a substitute cereal among the rural poor. Red sorghum is mainly grown in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia, and is the preferred type for households in Djibouti. Beans are an important source of protein and a complementary food crop grown in the high potential agricultural areas of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia. It is consumed across household types. Maize and beans are the most heavily traded commodities in the region. The cooking banana–matoke is the primary staple in Uganda. Uganda is also a main source of cooking and other types of bananas traded in the region especially in Southern Sudan. However, bananas are not traded nearly as heavily as maize or beans.
In Somaliland, only a third of women giving birth have any kind of skilled personnel with them -- and, in rural areas, the numbers are much lower. Now, a three-year-long programme co-funded by the European Commission that targets maternal and newborn health in Somaliland and Puntland, is slowly changing this reality.
By Athanas Makundi
Having a baby still poses one of the greatest risks to the lives of women in Somalia. In Somaliland, only a third of women giving birth have any kind of skilled personnel with them – and, in rural areas, the numbers are much lower. Newborns die because of low birth weight, premature birth, asphyxia, birth injuries, septicaemia and neonatal tetanus.
It is estimated that more than 22,000 mothers and newborns will be helped by a three-year-long programme co-funded by the European Commission that targets maternal and newborn health in Somaliland and Puntland.
BOROMA, Somaliland, 29 November 2013 – Layla Darhir groans. Midwife Foosiya Omer quickly shifts her full attention to the 28-year-old, who has been in labour for six hours.
Ms. Darhir arrived at the clinic at dawn. She shares a room with four other women in the newly constructed maternity wing at the Central Maternal and Child Health Clinic in Boroma Town, Somaliland.
UNICEF Image © UNICEF Video 23 year old Ifrah Abdullahi is mother to a healthy five year old who was delivered at the Borama General hospital in Somaliland. She received antenatal and postnatal care from a local health clinic which is supported by a programme co-funded by the European Union and its partners. In Somaliland, only a third of women giving birth have any kind of skilled personnel with them.
“I’m going to check if her cervix has dilated enough,” says Ms. Omer, who is in charge of the morning shift. She is moving Ms. Darhir to the delivery room. “It is a routine check we do for all these women in labour, to see if they need inducing.”
In the delivery room, heavy contractions kick in. The assistant midwife quickly rushes in with a trolley of instruments.
“Push, push,” shouts Ms. Omer, massaging the swollen abdomen. Ms. Darhir gives birth. The midwives swiftly move in to tend to the baby. Ms. Darhir lies back, spent, smiling, eyes fixed on her first-born child, a healthy boy. She will name him Adam Yusuf Farah.
Across town, an ambulance donated by the Government of Japan for a European Commission and UNICEF joint project on sexual and reproductive health wails through the streets of Boroma. Marian Muse is being rushed to hospital. The mother of seven has no history of pregnancy complications – but, this time, she is bleeding heavily and will require an emergency caesarean section.
“She has developed placenta abruption,” says midwife Safia Hassan, who is monitoring Ms. Muse’s blood pressure in the ambulance. “It is when excessive bleeding occurs before the birth process begins, and, in such situations, we consider this an emergency case,” she explains.
At Boroma Regional Hospital, a team is ready. “We have many challenges with cases like Marian, because usually these women take a long time to reach the hospital,” says Dr. Farah Ismail, an obstetrician/gynecologist in charge of caesarean surgery at the hospital. “The delay either results in the death of the foetus or puts the mother into a risky position.
“[D]espite the availability of transport, cases like these need to be spotted early on and action taken quickly.”
A place for high-risk pregnancies
At Dilla Maternal and Child Health Centre, 50 km outside Boroma, Fadiyo Isaq is about to give birth. Although she has delivered her four children at home, health workers have warned her that this pregnancy might put her life in danger.
”I almost died from excessive bleeding in my previous pregnancy, “says Ms. Isaq. “This time, I decided to come here for medical attention in case it happens again.”
“Bleeding is the most common and one of the most serious problems we see with mothers who come to the clinic,“ says Safia Dhimbil, the midwife in charge of Dilla centre. “The community still thinks this is normal; they don’t see it as a problem unless a woman dies.
“Often, the bleeding is a result of the female circumcision that the woman has undergone,” she adds.
Upgrades that work
In Somaliland and Puntland, maternal health has seen great progress because of ongoing work by UNICEF and its partners supported by the European Commission. The programme is upgrading 14 maternal and child health centres as basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care facilities (BEmONC) and linking them, with local referral hospitals, as comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care facilities.
All of these facilities are now open around the clock and have solar power and running water.
The upgraded maternal and child health clinics and hospitals have become a lifeline for women with high-risk pregnancies who come to be monitored regularly. The number of women giving birth at Dilla Health Centre has shot up in the past two years. The first five months of 2013 saw, on average, 100 deliveries a month.
“Previously, the maternal mortality rate was very high, and there was no delivery system for pregnant women in our health centres,”says Regional Medical Officer, Somaliland, Dr. Abdirahaman Jama. “But, since the upgrade of the Somali Reproduction Health was started, we can carry out normal deliveries at the health centres – and the number is going up all the time.”
A cadre of well-trained health workers
To reduce maternal and child mortality requires a comprehensive package involving facilities, equipment, care and well-trained personnel. The programme includes training for doctors, qualified nurses and midwives and community health workers.
Retired birth attendant Adar Mihile talks about how she used to walk long distances to assist women giving birth at home. She says that, even with 30 years of experience, there were times when she could only watch as women died during labour. “Sometimes, I would only get to the woman when it was too late to help,” she says. But things have changed.
“I have learned how to take care of a woman during pregnancy, especially the first three months,“ says midwife Foosia Mohamed Hassan, who works in postnatal care at Dilla centre. “I also know the common problems a woman faces during pregnancy and how to manage them, especially in the second and third trimester.”
Traditional birth attendants are now linked with the upgraded facilities. They can help persuade women to go to health centres and hospitals for antenatal check-ups and to deliver.
Democratic Republic of the Congo: Eastern Africa: Displaced Populations Report (Issue 15, 31 March - 30 September 2013)
Nearly 750,000 people displaced since March 2013
As of September 2013, there were 9,901,158 people displaced in Burundi, (eastern) DRC, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The figures for the displaced population show an increase of 747,185 individuals since the end of March 2013. Of the total displaced population, 2,146,730 are refugees while 7,754,428 are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and people severely affected by conflict. Internal displacement trends in the eastern Africa region are largely driven by internal armed conflicts, inter-communal fighting and insecurity. In addition, the region remains prone to natural disasters, including floods and drought. IDPs arising from natural disasters are however temporary and their figures remain estimates.
DRC, Sudan and Somalia continue to record the highest number of IDPs and persons severely affected by conflict at an estimated 2.7 million, 2.9 million and 1.11 million people, respectively. The IDP population in eastern DRC increased by nearly 170,000 individuals in the last six months, during which the country’s security organs continued to battle rebellion from the M23 group and various armed groups operating in the affected region. The majority of the displaced people are located in North Kivu Province, which is home to 37 per cent (over 1 million people) of the entire IDP population in eastern DRC. Insecurity in DRC has further compelled an estimated 90,000 to flee into Burundi, Uganda, and Rwanda since April.
Somalia has recorded a notable decline in its IDP population since 2007-2012 when the IDP population was estimated at 1.4 to 1.5 million people. The reduction is attributed to improved stability, especially in the south, resulting in reduced new incidents of displacement and facilitated access for verification of displacement data.1 In Sudan, inter-communal hostilities and clashes between Sudanese security forces against armed groups left at least 400,000 people uprooted from their homes across Darfur, North and South Kordofan regions between January and June 2013. More than 1.4 million IDPs continue to receive food assistance in camps in Darfur, while another 1.1 million are displaced or severely affected by fighting in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, according to estimates from the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (SRRA). The IDP population in Ethiopia has increased by over 100,000 individuals since March, according to the International Office of Migration (IOM). Ethiopia was host to some 416,315 IDPs in September, driven largely by conflict and natural disasters, reports IOM.2 The IDP population figures in Burundi, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda remain largely unchanged as no new verification exercises were undertaken during the reporting period. However, respective governments continued efforts aimed at finding durable solutions for displaced populations.
Flooding and inter-clan fighting have so far displaced 90,000 people. Due to the fighting a breach in the Shabelle river embankment could not be fixed resulting in flood water continuing to pour into the plain. Heavy rains are set to continue in the Ethiopian highlands meaning the river water levels will remain high. Flood water has contaminated wells, disrupted markets, destroyed crops and delayed planting to the crucial next crop season.
ECHO partners with local partners have launched a multi-disciplinary response including water trucking, water purification, wet feeding, distribution of non food items (NFIs) and mobile clinics.
A major frontline between African Union troops (AMISOM) and the armed group Al Shabaab runs through the crisis areas, complicating further the access to the people in need and disrupting the access to ECHO-supported Jowhar district hospital.