AFRICA/SOMALIA - "Every 11 weeks, ten percent of the under-5 population in Somalia is dying" says the Situation Report" of Caritas Somalia

Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) - "Health facilities in Somalia are trying to cope with the mass influx of internally displaced persons flocking to urban areas to seek assistance", says the "Situation Report" of Caritas Somalia of which a copy was sent to Fides. "Afgoye corridor has more than 410,000 IDP’s, while in Mogadishu, where there are scarce resources, the number has grown to 470,000. Measles and other easily preventable illnesses are spreading through camps due to lack of immunizations. Diarrhea is also increasing, causing a sharp increase in cases of death to children under the age of 5 . It is estimated that every 11 weeks, ten percent of the under-5 population in Somalia is dying", says the document. Caritas Somalia is currently supporting local partners in assisting the most vulnerable and displaced families in major centers throughout the country with basic necessities including food rations and health care. Caritas Somalia is also coordinating with and endorsing its support to Caritas and other organizations both in Somalia and in refugee camps for displaced Somalis in Kenya and Ethiopia. Trócaire (Irish Catholic Church organization) is responding through partners in South Central Somalia, providing a multi sectoral response, including health and nutrition to approximately 220,000 people. This is a highly sensitive operation: for security reasons and in order not to jeopardise the response, Trócaire prefers not to share further information. Caritas Switzerland/Luxembourg has launched a project in Somaliland for the most vulnerable populations (170,000 people), mainly in the Eastern Togdheer/Sool Plateau pastoral areas. The program aims to improve hygiene in order to reduce cases of diarrhea and other illnesses caused by contaminated water, as well as to strengthen the capacity of communities and local authorities to deal with emergencies and disasters. In Somalia, Caritas Switzerland is also planning to support Trocaire’s work and has an additional project, which is starting at the beginning September. The project includes safe access to drinking water, nutrition for children under 5 years and their mothers, veterinary support and fodder for livestock as well as generating small business activities so as to provide income to the population. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 20/08/2011)