Nairobi, Kenya, October 6, 2008
—We, the undersigned NGOs, are extremely concerned about the devastating humanitarian crisis in Somalia.
Nearly half of Somalia’s population, or 3.25 million people, are now in need of emergency aid. This is a 77 percent increase since the beginning of 2008. This number has increased dramatically over the past year due to the destructive combination of extreme insecurity, drought and record-high food prices. The situation is expected to deteriorate further, with ordinary Somalis bearing the brunt of the cost.
Despite the ongoing political process we have not witnessed any lessening of the violence that continues to have a horrendous impact on civilians.
In the last few weeks, renewed shelling in Mogadishu has displaced approximately 37,000 civilians from their homes. Over the past nine months, 870,000 have fled for their lives. A total of 1.1 million people are currently displaced in Somalia today.
We are appalled by the indiscriminate and disproportional use of force by all armed parties to the conflict, which is further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.
The poorest of Mogadishu’s residents have no means to flee the extreme violence and have limited means to earn a living leaving them completely dependent on humanitarian assistance. This while the average Somali has seen price increases for food and water of up to 1,000 percent, plunging many into worsening poverty. One in six children under five, or approximately 180,000 children, is acutely malnourished in South and Central Somalia.
Aid workers are increasingly the victims of assassination and kidnapping and are now seen as legitimate targets. This year alone 24 aid workers, of which 20 are Somali nationals, have been killed whilst carrying out their work. The whereabouts of another ten are unknown. There have been 111 reported security incidents directly targeting aid agencies.
National and international aid agencies are prevented from responding effectively to the needs of ordinary Somalis because of violence and severely limited access. At present, South and Central Somalia is almost entirely off limits to international staff of aid agencies.
We call upon all parties to the conflict to allow aid agencies unhindered access to Somalis who are in desperate need of emergency assistance.
The international community has completely failed Somali civilians. We call on the international community to make the protection of Somali civilians a top priority now.
For interviews with Somalia experts in East Africa or Washington, DC, please contact World Vision's Rachel Wolff at 253.394.2214 or Rwolff@worldvision.org
Signatories to the statement (52 National and International NGOs):
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press.
ADRA - Adventist Relief Development Agency
AET – Africa Educational Trust
AFREC – Africa Rescue Committee
ASEP – Advancement for Small Enterprise Program
CARE – Cooperative Assistance for Relief Everywhere
CARITAS SWITZERLAND & CARITAS LUXUMBOURG
CEFA – Somalia European Committee for Agricultural Training
CISP – Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli
CPD Centre for Peace and Democracy
COOPI – Cooperazione Internazionale
DRC - Danish Refugee Council
DIAKONIA EMERGENCY AID BREAD FOR THE WORLD
FERO – Family Economy Rehabilitation Organization
GHC – Gedo Health Consortium
GREDO – Gol Yome Rehabilitatation & Development Organisation
HAPO CHILD – Hiran HIV/AIDS Prevention and Child Protecton Organisation
HARDO – Humanitarian Action for Relief and Development Organisation
HIMILO – Himilo Relief and Development Association
IAS – International Aid Services
|IDF – Integrated Development Focus |
IMC – International Medical Corps
INTERPEACE/WSP – Interpeace / War torn Societies
IRC – International Rescue Committee
IREX – International Research & Exchanges Board
KAALO RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT
MAG – Mines Advisory Group
MERCY CORPS SOMALIA
NORWEGIAN CHURCH AID
NRC – Norwegian Refugee Council
RI – Relief International
SCUK – Save the Children UK
TERRA NUOVA – Terra Nuova Association for International Cooperation to Development
VSF SUISSE – Veterinaires Sans Frontieres - Switzerland
VSF GERMANY - Veterinaires Sans Frontieres - Germany
WOCCA – Women and Child Care Organization