Posts tagged Somalia

We are thrilled and relieved to announce that our colleagues abducted from Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya 644 days ago have been released. http://bit.ly/112bbcM

We are thrilled and relieved to announce that our colleagues abducted from Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya 644 days ago have been released. http://bit.ly/112bbcM

Photo: A patient is carried to a ward by stretcher in Guri-el Hospital. Somalia 2011 © Peter Casaer/MSF
Humanitarian Aid Must Not Be Co-Opted Into Somalia Stabilization Program
Efforts underway at the United Nations to integrate humanitarian assistance into the international military campaign against opponents of Somalia’s government will further threaten the safe delivery of independent and impartial aid to Somalis struggling to survive ongoing war, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today. The United Nations Security Council is currently deliberating the future structure of the UN’s mission in Somalia. Under discussion is the possible inclusion of humanitarian assistance within the broader political and military agenda for Somalia. Such an approach, in a country where the ability to provide relief is already severely compromised, could generate distrust of aid groups. “As many Somalis continue to struggle to obtain the basic necessities for survival, such as food, health care, and protection from violence, humanitarian assistance must remain a priority and it must remain completely independent of any political agenda,” said Jerome Oberreit, MSF Secretary General. “The humanitarian aid system must not be co-opted as an implementing partner of counter-insurgency or stabilization efforts in Somalia.” Ensuring the safety of patients and medical staff remains a major challenge. Aid must therefore remain independent and impartial so that humanitarian organizations can try to negotiate access to populations in need with all parties to the conflict and mitigate security risks as much as possible. Attempts to further politicize humanitarian aid will put patients and aid workers in even greater danger, MSF said.

Photo: A patient is carried to a ward by stretcher in Guri-el Hospital. Somalia 2011 © Peter Casaer/MSF

Humanitarian Aid Must Not Be Co-Opted Into Somalia Stabilization Program

Efforts underway at the United Nations to integrate humanitarian assistance into the international military campaign against opponents of Somalia’s government will further threaten the safe delivery of independent and impartial aid to Somalis struggling to survive ongoing war, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned today. The United Nations Security Council is currently deliberating the future structure of the UN’s mission in Somalia. Under discussion is the possible inclusion of humanitarian assistance within the broader political and military agenda for Somalia. Such an approach, in a country where the ability to provide relief is already severely compromised, could generate distrust of aid groups. “As many Somalis continue to struggle to obtain the basic necessities for survival, such as food, health care, and protection from violence, humanitarian assistance must remain a priority and it must remain completely independent of any political agenda,” said Jerome Oberreit, MSF Secretary General. “The humanitarian aid system must not be co-opted as an implementing partner of counter-insurgency or stabilization efforts in Somalia.” Ensuring the safety of patients and medical staff remains a major challenge. Aid must therefore remain independent and impartial so that humanitarian organizations can try to negotiate access to populations in need with all parties to the conflict and mitigate security risks as much as possible. Attempts to further politicize humanitarian aid will put patients and aid workers in even greater danger, MSF said.

Photo: Siyad Abdi Ar, 24, was 16 when gunmen in Somalia came to his house, led him to a tree and tied him there. Kenya 2012 © Robin Hammond.
MSF @ Instagram
For two days they beat and tortured him. His arms have been left permanently disabled and he cannot control his urine. His mother says that before the attack he was a normal teenager, but has not been the same since. She chains him to stop him from wandering away. They have been in Dadaab refugee camp for six months. 
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Photo: Siyad Abdi Ar, 24, was 16 when gunmen in Somalia came to his house, led him to a tree and tied him there. Kenya 2012 © Robin Hammond.

MSF @ Instagram

For two days they beat and tortured him. His arms have been left permanently disabled and he cannot control his urine. His mother says that before the attack he was a normal teenager, but has not been the same since. She chains him to stop him from wandering away. They have been in Dadaab refugee camp for six months. 

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Photo: Refugees in Minova, where many people settled after fleeing violence near Kanyaruchinya camp. DRC 2012 © Juan Carlos Tomasi/MSF
DRC: Displaced Fleeing Goma Face Dire Conditions
In the face of a rebel advance on Goma, the capital of North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, tens of thousands of people have emptied villages and displaced persons camps near the city and are desperate for assistance, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today.
The Kanyaruchinya camp, where MSF once provided medical services, is now empty after approximately 60,000 people—many of whom were previously displaced—fled in panic. Many have reached the Mugunga III, Mugunga I, and Lac Vert camps, or have headed south to camps in Minova and Kirotche in neighboring South Kivu. Conditions in many camps are precarious and food is lacking. 
MSF is providing health services and has set up water and sanitation facilities in Lac Vert and Mugunga I camps, and medical teams report thousands of new arrivals since Sunday, with people desperate for assistance.

Photo: Refugees in Minova, where many people settled after fleeing violence near Kanyaruchinya camp. DRC 2012 © Juan Carlos Tomasi/MSF

DRC: Displaced Fleeing Goma Face Dire Conditions

In the face of a rebel advance on Goma, the capital of North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, tens of thousands of people have emptied villages and displaced persons camps near the city and are desperate for assistance, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today.

The Kanyaruchinya camp, where MSF once provided medical services, is now empty after approximately 60,000 people—many of whom were previously displaced—fled in panic. Many have reached the Mugunga III, Mugunga I, and Lac Vert camps, or have headed south to camps in Minova and Kirotche in neighboring South Kivu. Conditions in many camps are precarious and food is lacking. 

MSF is providing health services and has set up water and sanitation facilities in Lac Vert and Mugunga I camps, and medical teams report thousands of new arrivals since Sunday, with people desperate for assistance.

Photo: An MSF staff member measures a child’s mid-upper arm circumferance to check for malnutrition in Mogadishu. Somalia 2012 © Mike Woodman/MSF
Responding to Urgent Nutritional Needs on the Outskirts of Mogadishu
Years of intense violence, drought, malnutrition, and infectious disease have wrecked the Somali health system and displaced thousands of Somalis from their homes. While food security seems to have improved since 2011, MSF assessment shows that malnutrition rates are still alarming in many parts of the country, including the outskirts of Mogadishu.
According to this assessment, one in four children living in camps outside the Somali capital are malnourished. In response to this critical situation, an MSF team launched an emergency three-day intervention to provide urgent nutritional treatment and on-site medical care to children under the age of five.

Photo: An MSF staff member measures a child’s mid-upper arm circumferance to check for malnutrition in Mogadishu. Somalia 2012 © Mike Woodman/MSF

Responding to Urgent Nutritional Needs on the Outskirts of Mogadishu

Years of intense violence, drought, malnutrition, and infectious disease have wrecked the Somali health system and displaced thousands of Somalis from their homes. While food security seems to have improved since 2011, MSF assessment shows that malnutrition rates are still alarming in many parts of the country, including the outskirts of Mogadishu.

According to this assessment, one in four children living in camps outside the Somali capital are malnourished. In response to this critical situation, an MSF team launched an emergency three-day intervention to provide urgent nutritional treatment and on-site medical care to children under the age of five.

FINAL WEEK OF MSF.TV
October is coming to an end, and so is our live news channel of MSF behind the scenes work. Download this week’s TV Guide so you don’t miss out on the LAST WEEK of MSF.TV!
Highlights of the week:
Tuesday (10/23): Violence in Papua New Guinea
Wednesday (10/24): A Photographer’s Experience
Thursday (10/25): Mission in Somalia
Friday (10//26): Humanitarian Crisis of Today

FINAL WEEK OF MSF.TV

October is coming to an end, and so is our live news channel of MSF behind the scenes work. Download this week’s TV Guide so you don’t miss out on the LAST WEEK of MSF.TV!

Highlights of the week:

  • Tuesday (10/23): Violence in Papua New Guinea
  • Wednesday (10/24): A Photographer’s Experience
  • Thursday (10/25): Mission in Somalia
  • Friday (10//26): Humanitarian Crisis of Today
Photo: Cindy Scott, Mental Health Officer, Ethiopia © MSF

Bringing Malnourished Children Back to Life
Hiloweyn Refugee Camp, Ethiopia 

"Every day more malnourished children were admitted to our feeding program. They arrived at Hiloweyn with exhausted families who had walked for days, even weeks, from Somalia with little food or water. In an emergency situation like this, mental healthcare is as critical as nutrition support.

Research shows the brain of a severely malnourished baby really stops working except to keep the heart and lungs going. Yet children given psychosocial stimulation while they are receiving medical treatment actually recover more quickly and gain weight faster. Doctors Without Borders recognizes this. 

I remember one little boy, perhaps two or three years old. He was so weak he couldn’t even cry—he would just scrunch his face. For about two weeks, we joined his mother in playing, singing, and talking with the boy. She was worried her tiny son could not hear her because he was so sick. One day she held a red balloon in front of her child and his little hand reached out and grabbed it. We were all shocked and he just smiled. ‘I haven’t seen my baby smile in months,’ she said. Then all the mothers began laughing because this one little baby smiled. It was a sign that his brain was working again. 

Donor support means we can really go to the forgotten places in the world, where people think they are forgotten and no one is listening—but Doctors Without Borders is there.” 

Doctors Without Borders has handed over its project in Hiloweyn camp, one of the five refugee camps near the border between Ethiopia and Somalia, to ARRA, an Ethiopian refugee agency.

Photo: Cindy Scott, Mental Health Officer, Ethiopia © MSF

Bringing Malnourished Children Back to Life
Hiloweyn Refugee Camp, Ethiopia

"Every day more malnourished children were admitted to our feeding program. They arrived at Hiloweyn with exhausted families who had walked for days, even weeks, from Somalia with little food or water. In an emergency situation like this, mental healthcare is as critical as nutrition support.

Research shows the brain of a severely malnourished baby really stops working except to keep the heart and lungs going. Yet children given psychosocial stimulation while they are receiving medical treatment actually recover more quickly and gain weight faster. Doctors Without Borders recognizes this.

I remember one little boy, perhaps two or three years old. He was so weak he couldn’t even cry—he would just scrunch his face. For about two weeks, we joined his mother in playing, singing, and talking with the boy. She was worried her tiny son could not hear her because he was so sick. One day she held a red balloon in front of her child and his little hand reached out and grabbed it. We were all shocked and he just smiled. ‘I haven’t seen my baby smile in months,’ she said. Then all the mothers began laughing because this one little baby smiled. It was a sign that his brain was working again.

Donor support means we can really go to the forgotten places in the world, where people think they are forgotten and no one is listening—but Doctors Without Borders is there.”

Doctors Without Borders has handed over its project in Hiloweyn camp, one of the five refugee camps near the border between Ethiopia and Somalia, to ARRA, an Ethiopian refugee agency.

Photo: Somali refugees in Dadaab arrive in Ifo 2 camp after being moved by officials from the outskirts of Dagahaley camp. Kenya 2011 © Lynsey Addario/VII

Dadaab: Leaders Must Not Fail Refugees in the World’s Largest Camp

In Geneva, world leaders commenced this week for the annual meeting of the executive committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Issues on refugee rights and safety were discussed, as MSF brought attention to the half a million Somalis living in extreme conditions and under fear in camps in Kenya. Urgent steps must also be taken to meet the basic needs of the refugees, particularly shelter and sanitation. 

“We are seriously questioning the overall level of assistance provided to the refugees,” said Bruno Jochum, MSF general director, who visited Dadaab’s Dagahaley camp last week. “With security conditions worsening, basic services and the provision of aid have been significantly reduced, so it is no surprise that refugees are yet again facing disease outbreaks.”

Photo: Somali refugees in Dadaab arrive in Ifo 2 camp after being moved by officials from the outskirts of Dagahaley camp. Kenya 2011 © Lynsey Addario/VII

Dadaab: Leaders Must Not Fail Refugees in the World’s Largest Camp

In Geneva, world leaders commenced this week for the annual meeting of the executive committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Issues on refugee rights and safety were discussed, as MSF brought attention to the half a million Somalis living in extreme conditions and under fear in camps in Kenya. Urgent steps must also be taken to meet the basic needs of the refugees, particularly shelter and sanitation.

“We are seriously questioning the overall level of assistance provided to the refugees,” said Bruno Jochum, MSF general director, who visited Dadaab’s Dagahaley camp last week. “With security conditions worsening, basic services and the provision of aid have been significantly reduced, so it is no surprise that refugees are yet again facing disease outbreaks.”

The Risks of Childbirth in Somalia

Doctor Hamida Shakib Mohamed just helped deliver a healthy boy weighing 3.6 kilograms [about 8 pounds]. It’s a good thing the mother made it to this health center; it was a difficult labor and she needed the assistance of a skilled birth attendant using a vacuum device to complete the delivery. She lives in a village about 110 kilometers [about 68 miles] north of here, but her father insisted she make the trip. He appreciates the MSF–supported services here after his wife was treated for post-partum hemorrhaging just a few months ago. “We give the right care," says Dr. Hamida, "so people come to us.”

Last December, MSF expanded its medical services in Galcayo North to include maternity and obstetric care. The number of deliveries has since boomed to about 200 per month, with many mothers coming from increasingly far away. Dr. Hamida is happy about that. She’s Somali, educated in Mogadishu in the 1980s, but holds a foreign passport and has lived abroad for most of the past two decades. “Now that my children are grown,” she says “I’m free and I want to give my energy to the Somali community.” She couldn’t be more needed.A baby rests in the inpatient post-natal department of MSF’s Galcayo South hospital.
Somalia 2011 © Siegfried Modola

The Risks of Childbirth in Somalia

Doctor Hamida Shakib Mohamed just helped deliver a healthy boy weighing 3.6 kilograms [about 8 pounds]. It’s a good thing the mother made it to this health center; it was a difficult labor and she needed the assistance of a skilled birth attendant using a vacuum device to complete the delivery. She lives in a village about 110 kilometers [about 68 miles] north of here, but her father insisted she make the trip. He appreciates the MSF–supported services here after his wife was treated for post-partum hemorrhaging just a few months ago. “We give the right care," says Dr. Hamida, "so people come to us.

Last December, MSF expanded its medical services in Galcayo North to include maternity and obstetric care. The number of deliveries has since boomed to about 200 per month, with many mothers coming from increasingly far away. Dr. Hamida is happy about that. She’s Somali, educated in Mogadishu in the 1980s, but holds a foreign passport and has lived abroad for most of the past two decades. “Now that my children are grown,” she says “I’m free and I want to give my energy to the Somali community.” She couldn’t be more needed.

A baby rests in the inpatient post-natal department of MSF’s Galcayo South hospital.
Somalia 2011 © Siegfried Modola

Somalia: Responding to Diarrhea in Kismayo

MSF is responding to increased cases of acute watery diarrhea among children and adults in the city of Kismayo in southern Somalia. More patients are being admitted every day. Acute watery diarrhea is highly infectious and can be deadly if not treated in time. Kismayo’s dense population means that a widespread outbreak could easily occur if urgent prevention measures are not taken.

A rapid test among a sample of ten patients indicated that six tested positive for cholera. Of the 65 patients treated so far, 40 suffered severe dehydration and needed immediate hospitalization. The majority of the cases were children under the age of eight.

The most effective way to prevent such outbreaks is chlorination of drinking water sources and adherence to basic hygienic measures. Unfortunately, the use of chlorine is not allowed in the Kismayo area, so MSF community health workers are advising people to strain water through clean cotton fabric and boil it before drinking it, in addition to regularly washing their hands with soap. Photo: Mothers and young children—who are especially vulnerable to diarrhea—wait to be seen in an MSF facility.

Somalia 2011 © Peter Casaer

Somalia: Responding to Diarrhea in Kismayo

MSF is responding to increased cases of acute watery diarrhea among children and adults in the city of Kismayo in southern Somalia. More patients are being admitted every day. Acute watery diarrhea is highly infectious and can be deadly if not treated in time. Kismayo’s dense population means that a widespread outbreak could easily occur if urgent prevention measures are not taken.

A rapid test among a sample of ten patients indicated that six tested positive for cholera. Of the 65 patients treated so far, 40 suffered severe dehydration and needed immediate hospitalization. The majority of the cases were children under the age of eight.

The most effective way to prevent such outbreaks is chlorination of drinking water sources and adherence to basic hygienic measures. Unfortunately, the use of chlorine is not allowed in the Kismayo area, so MSF community health workers are advising people to strain water through clean cotton fabric and boil it before drinking it, in addition to regularly washing their hands with soap.

Photo: Mothers and young children—who are especially vulnerable to diarrhea—wait to be seen in an MSF facility.

Somalia 2011 © Peter Casaer

Voice From the Field: “People Living in Dadaab are Broken”

“As more and more refugees crossed the border, and the security situation got worse, three sprawling refugee camps—named after the nearby town of Dadaab—were set up 80 kilometers [about 50 miles] away in the desert, with space for 90,000 people. Today, almost half a million Somalis are struggling to survive in the camps.”

Abubakar Mohamed Mahamud has worked with Somali refugees in northeastern Kenya since the war in Somalia began more than 20 years ago. Originally a nurse specializing in nutrition, he is now MSF’s deputy field coordinator.
Photo: Somali refugees wait outside the MSF health post on the outskirts of Dadaab’s Dagahaley camp.
 
Kenya 2011 © Lynsey Addario/VII

Voice From the Field: “People Living in Dadaab are Broken”

“As more and more refugees crossed the border, and the security situation got worse, three sprawling refugee camps—named after the nearby town of Dadaab—were set up 80 kilometers [about 50 miles] away in the desert, with space for 90,000 people. Today, almost half a million Somalis are struggling to survive in the camps.”

Abubakar Mohamed Mahamud has worked with Somali refugees in northeastern Kenya since the war in Somalia began more than 20 years ago. Originally a nurse specializing in nutrition, he is now MSF’s deputy field coordinator.

Photo: Somali refugees wait outside the MSF health post on the outskirts of Dadaab’s Dagahaley camp.

Kenya 2011 © Lynsey Addario/VII

The crisis in Somalia is not going to end soon. History is repeating itself and this is a never-ending problem. What I see today is what I saw in 1991: desperate people who fled their war-torn country, leaving everything behind, only to end up in a camp where living conditions are below what is humanly dignified.
Abubakar Mohamed Mahamud has worked with Somali refugees in northeastern Kenya since the war in Somalia began more than 20 years ago. Originally a nurse specializing in nutrition, he is now MSF’s deputy field coordinator.
Special Report: Assisting the Somali Population Affected by the Humanitarian Crisis of 2011

Somalia’s humanitarian crisis continues to be one of the worst in the world. This year, Somalis have faced the devastating effects of drought, compounding a long-lasting conflict and the absence of a functioning health care system.

Throughout 2011 MSF ran medical projects in up to 22 different locations in south-central Somalia, the epicenter of the crisis, as well as large-scale programs in the Somali refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya.
	
In the period from May to December 2011, MSF treated over 95,000 patients for malnutrition, and treated over 6,000 patients for measles and vaccinated almost 235,000 children against the disease. Within its various health care structures MSF assisted in over 5,500 deliveries and provided over 450,000 consultations.

 Download the full report here.

Photo: A Somali woman waits for food distribution in the Badbadoo refugee camp. Somalia 2011 © Martina Bacigalupo

Special Report: Assisting the Somali Population Affected by the Humanitarian Crisis of 2011

Somalia’s humanitarian crisis continues to be one of the worst in the world. This year, Somalis have faced the devastating effects of drought, compounding a long-lasting conflict and the absence of a functioning health care system.

Throughout 2011 MSF ran medical projects in up to 22 different locations in south-central Somalia, the epicenter of the crisis, as well as large-scale programs in the Somali refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya.

In the period from May to December 2011, MSF treated over 95,000 patients for malnutrition, and treated over 6,000 patients for measles and vaccinated almost 235,000 children against the disease. Within its various health care structures MSF assisted in over 5,500 deliveries and provided over 450,000 consultations.

Download the full report here.

Photo: A Somali woman waits for food distribution in the Badbadoo refugee camp. Somalia 2011 © Martina Bacigalupo

Somalia: MSF Hospital Caught in Center of Fighting in Mogadishu


The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders condemns today’s shelling of Daynile Hospital in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

Fighting began in the morning in Daynile, a neighborhood located in an outlying area of Mogadishu. The shelling struck the hospital’s emergency room and a portion of the surgical ward, causing significant damage. MSF has worked in the hospital since 2006.There were no casualties among the hospital’s 19 patients or staff, comprising 36 medical personnel and 12 guards. All patients and staff sought shelter from the shelling in the internal medicine department.

MSF calls on parties to the conflict in Somalia to respect the neutrality of Daynile Hospital, along with that of all medical facilities in the country, and to respect the safety of patients and hospital staff.Photo: Somalia 2011 © MSF
A building in a refugee camp in downtown Mogadishu, not far from the MSF hospital at Daynile, bears the scars of the conflict.

Somalia: MSF Hospital Caught in Center of Fighting in Mogadishu

The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders condemns today’s shelling of Daynile Hospital in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

Fighting began in the morning in Daynile, a neighborhood located in an outlying area of Mogadishu. The shelling struck the hospital’s emergency room and a portion of the surgical ward, causing significant damage. MSF has worked in the hospital since 2006.

There were no casualties among the hospital’s 19 patients or staff, comprising 36 medical personnel and 12 guards. All patients and staff sought shelter from the shelling in the internal medicine department.

MSF calls on parties to the conflict in Somalia to respect the neutrality of Daynile Hospital, along with that of all medical facilities in the country, and to respect the safety of patients and hospital staff.

Photo: Somalia 2011 © MSF A building in a refugee camp in downtown Mogadishu, not far from the MSF hospital at Daynile, bears the scars of the conflict.

Somali Refugees in Dadaab Struggle On

Though the international spotlight has moved on, hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees in the Dadaab camps in northwestern Kenya, the largest refugee camps in the world, continue to struggle amid harsh conditions and pervasive malnutrition, particularly among children. Aid has been too slow in coming, however, and longer-term solutions are nowhere to be found.