Tuesday January 22, 2019
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2 War-Stricken Towns In Somalia Finally Receive Health care : UN

It is likely many of these displaced people will decide to return to their communities now that the life-saving aid they need can be had closer to home.

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hunger, health care, somalia
IOM delivers emergency and essential health services to Bulla Gaduud and Gobweyn, areas recently liberated by the government in Lower Juba region of south-eastern Somalia. VOA

The UN Migration Agency has begun providing life-saving health care to two Somali towns previously inaccessible because of war and conflict.

Tens of thousands of people in the towns of Gobweyn and Bulla Gaduud have been deprived of life-saving health care for nearly three decades. These areas have been too dangerous for aid workers to reach because of the never-ending cycles of war and conflict in the area.

In recent months, International Organization for Migration spokesman, Joel Millman says government forces have succeeded in subduing the armed groups that have made life a misery for local inhabitants. This, he says has opened up these areas to outside help.

hunger, health care
Malnourished and displaced Somali children sit in a tent in their camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. VOA

“For the past 27 years, war and conflict have made healthcare access difficult or impossible in many parts of the country. Now these communities have access to vaccinations, malaria treatment, antenatal care for pregnant mothers, malnutrition screenings and referrals, among other essential services,” Millman said.

Millman says aid agencies who finally were able to reach these towns were dismayed by the prevailing conditions. He says they found high levels of malnutrition and extremely poor immunization coverage.

hunger, health care
A Somali woman walks through a camp of people displaced from their homes elsewhere in the country by the drought, shortly after dawn in Qardho, Somalia, March 9, 2017. Source: VOA NEWS

Because the towns had no humanitarian services, he says many people had abandoned their villages. He says they were living in overcrowded settlements in far-away urban centers where medical care was available.

Also Read: Somalia Calls To Outlaw Female Genital Mutilation

He says it is likely many of these displaced people will decide to return to their communities now that the life-saving aid they need can be had closer to home. (VOA)

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Special Representative Of The United States Asked To Leave Somalia

No political agenda can be served through violence that deliberately targets staff members of international organizations

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USA, Somalia
Then the top U.N. envoy in Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom speaks during a press conference in Kabul, Feb. 18, 2015. VOA

Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Somalia, has been asked by the Somalia government to leave the country.

“The decision came after the highest U.N. diplomat in Somalia violated the agency’s standards and the international diplomatic norms by intervening the national sovereignty of Somalia,” according to the statement published by the government-controlled media.

The statement gave no further details.

Human rights a concern

On Monday, the U.N. ambassador urged the Somali government to safeguard human rights.

hunger, health care, somalia
IOM delivers emergency and essential health services to Bulla Gaduud and Gobweyn, areas recently liberated by the government in Lower Juba region of south-eastern Somalia. VOA

In a letter, Haysom urged Somali authorities to “exercise its authority in conformance with the law and provide explanation about the atrocities committed in Baidoa last month and the detention of Mukhtar Robow.”

Robow, a former al-Shabab leader, was arrest by the Somali government security forces last month. He also was excluded from elections in the South West Region of Somalia.

During his arrest, and the protests that followed, allegations came up that U.N.-supported regional police forces were involved in violence that left 15 civilians dead.

Analysts believe Haysom’s earlier letter and the subsequent Somali government decision to expel him shows the relationship between the two sides has been unstable.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Haysom as Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) in September 2018.

hunger, health care, somalia
Faduma Hussein Yagoub, a polio sufferer, came with her family to Dadaab from Somalia. Her husband and two of her five young children died of hunger on the way. Despite the dangers thousands of refugees every week are making the journey, walking for weeks across the desert and braving attacks by armed robbers and wild animals:

UN compound attack

On Tuesday, just hours before the Somali government’s letter of expulsion was released to the media, two U.N. staff members and a contractor were injured after seven mortars landed inside the U.N. compound in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

The staffers’ nationalities were not immediately available, but the officials at the compound said none of the injuries were life-threatening.

Also Read: Video: Withdrawal of US Troops From Syria May Move Slower Than Expected

“Today’s indirect fire attack on the main U.N. compound in Mogadishu may amount to a violation of international humanitarian law, and I deplore this unwarranted act of aggression against our personnel,” Haysom said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

In a statement posted on a pro-al-Shabab website, the militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

“No political agenda can be served through violence that deliberately targets staff members of international organizations who are supporting the consolidation of peace and the strengthening of governing institutions in Somalia,” Haysom added. (VOA)