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IRIN News Briefs 7 April about Somalia

 

SOMALIA: Food security hinges on rainy season

UN agencies working in Somalia have also warned of a looming crisis, especially if the upcoming 'Gu' rains fail - the chance of which meteorologists have set at fifty percent.

"An estimated 650,000 people throughout the country are experiencing severe food and water shortages," the latest emergency report from WFP stated.

The situation is reported to be of greatest concern in the southern regions of Bay, Bakol (where a UNICEF nutrition survey in Rabdure indicated a global malnutrition rate of 30 percent), Gedo and Hiran, where an estimated 425,000 are struggling to meet daily food needs.

Hundreds of families have already migrated from Gedo and Bakool to Baidoa, Mogadishu and as far north as Bossaso in search of food, water and work. Hunting and the collection of bush products have increased, water tables are well below normal and are being overused, the report stated.

Another 200,000 people in the northeast and northwest are facing food and water shortages, the majority of this number in the Haud region - where Toghdeer and Sool are badly affected, WFP said.

Pockets of high and extreme food insecurity have also been identified in the Burdhubo district of Gedo Region, with immediate assistance required in Dolo, Luuq and Belet Hawa, it added.

"The bottom line is, if the rains fail we will be dealing with a major catastrophe in Somalia," OCHA quoted WFP Representative Kevin Farrell as saying.

SOMALIA: Bay cholera outbreak under control

A cholera outbreak that claimed 23 lives in Dodale and neighbouring villages in Burhakaba district, in the south-central Bay region, during the two-week period from 4 to 17 March had been brought under control by early this week, a UNICEF official told IRIN on Thursday.

There were 113 cases reported around Dodale in that two-week spell, with samples analysed in Nairobi testing positively for cholera. The case fatality rate (CFR) was 20.4 percent.

Cholera supplies, chlorine and health education information had been provided by WHO and UNICEF, the official added.

SOMALIA: Djibouti conference preparations continue Djibouti

President Ismail Omar Guelleh has held talks with Arab League officials in Egypt and secured its support and assistance for his peace initiative for Somalia, Somali news organisations reported on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a committee of Somali intellectuals which met in Djibouti to work on proposals for the planned Djibouti peace conference on Somalia has asked the Djibouti government to delay the conference, which is set to begin on 20 April.

The Somali group is due to hold talks with a Djibouti government commission charged with restoring peace in Somalia to address its request for a delay in the conference.

The intellectuals recommended that factions, regional governments in Somalia and civil society organisations should all be represented, and that the selection of delegates should be proportional to the regions and clans they represent.

A high-level Djibouti delegation was due to travel to Somalia in the weeks before the peace conference to brief the Somali people on what the Djibouti peace initiative is all about, Somali news organisations reported this week, citing Djibouti Foreign Minister Ali Abdi Farah.

The delegation would first visit Mogadishu, but may face problems visiting Somaliland and Puntland, neither of which is backing the Djibouti initiative, they added.

Meanwhile, tension is reported to be high in Bosasso, capital of the self-declared state of Puntland in the northeast, after the police killed two men in recent demonstrations in favour of the Djibouti peace conference.

 


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