Relief Organisations Resume Work in Kismayo but Challenges Remain
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
More than 30 Somali humanitarian organisations have resumed relief
operations in Kismayo since government forces liberated the city from
al-Shabaab last September, but many say the return of international
organisations is critical in order to help the city's needy population.
The Kisima Peace and Development Organisation (KPDO) resumed its work
in Kismayo in November as the security situation improved, registering
internally displaced persons, educating children and adults, and
distributing money to needy families each month.
"We have 1,289 students who take advantage of the education we offer
in our centres. We teach them how to read and write Somali and offer
other subjects," said KPDO director Mohamed Ahmed.
KPDO distributes $100 monthly stipends to 500 local families with
help from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs,
the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Africa Educational Trust.
The Iman Relief Development Organisation (IRDO) returned to Kismayo in December, distributing food aid to local residents.
"We now feed 5,000 people each day with the support of the UN World
Food Programme (WFP)," said IRDO director Abdulmalik Abdullahi Ibrahim.
"You can imagine the need for food that exists and how hard it is to
meet that demand."
Resuming aid activities has profoundly changed the lives of the 680
people who live at the Os camp for internally displaced persons, most of
whom are women and children, said Abdi Said Mohamed, who manages the
"These people are now recovering well from the problems they suffered
as a result of the drought that hit south and central Somalia in 2011,"
he told Sabahi. "At the time, we did not get enough support because
al-Shabaab denied humanitarian relief agencies access to help us. Thanks
to Allah, we can now get people to help us."
Asha Farah, a 54-year-old camp resident, thanked IRDO and the WFP for
providing her and her seven children with food, but stressed that her
family also is in need of relief in the form of healthcare and
Pleas for greater international help:
Although organisations are feeding and handing out stipends to
Kismayo's hungry and destitute population, its residents still need
international humanitarian aid agencies to return to provide greater
relief, according to Mohamed Sheikh Yusuf, head of relief co-ordination
for the interim administration in Kismayo.
In regions under al-Shabaab's control, relief agencies have been
repeatedly banned, exacerbating the humanitarian crises. During
al-Shabaab's five-year reign in Kismayo, this policy kept international
agencies from establishing a presence there.
Since al-Shabaab lost control of Kismayo, the city has received WFP
food aid, but it is insufficient to feed the city's entire population,
Yusuf told Sabahi. Although WFP workers have come to the city, the UN
agency has yet to open an office there.
"We have facilitated humanitarian agencies, both local and
international, that work within the city of Kismayo, so that they can
help the people who are suffering," Yusuf said.
"We urge all international organisations to return to Kismayo because
the city has become peaceful since the departure of al-Shabaab, and we
promise international organisations that we will play a big role in
ensuring their security," he said.