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Somalia calls on MSF to review decision to leave country
Friday, August 16, 2013
The Somali government on Thursday called on international medical charity Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF) to review its decision to close its operations in the horn of Africa country because of security concerns, an official statement said.
The MSF or Doctors Without Borders made the announcement to halt its relief work on Wednesday after 22 years of provision of humanitarian aid in the Horn of Africa nation.
Somali Minister for of Human Development and Public Services, Maryan Qasim said she would "strongly encourage and seriously request" that MSF review its decision.
"It is unfortunate that this decision will directly affect the lives of thousands of vulnerable people. We fear that this decision will lead to a catastrophic humanitarian crisis," the Minister said following a cabinet meeting over the issue.
The charity said it will be closing its medical programs in the capital Mogadishu and the suburbs of Afgooye and Daynille, as well as in a number of other towns mostly in southern and central Somalia where over 1,500 staff provided a range of services.
The closure effectively cuts off hundred of thousands of Somali civilians from humanitarian aid and has been one of the hardest decisions MSF has had to make in its history.
Somali government expressed sadness over agency's decision saying it recognized MSF's contribution in Somalia, "the hard work, commitment and perseverance" which it said resulted in many lives being saved.
"We are deeply thankful and extremely indebted to MSF for the extraordinary work they have done in Somalia. Their involvement over the past 20 years has provided life saving services to the most inaccessible communities," minister Qasim said.
"We understand the many challenges MSF have faced over the years and stress that the new Somali government is ready to help overcome them," she added
The Somali government reiterated its commitment towards providing "secure working environment" to all aid agencies so they are able to provide the life saving services they do.
Meanwhile reports from southern Somalia said that the fighters from militant Al-Shabaab movement have looted medical facilities run by MSF taking medicines and computers after forcing out patients following news of the agency's decision to withdraw from the country.
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