Somalilandsun : Relative calm has returned to Gedo region in Jubaland State, Somalia, despite reports of minor incidents involving weapons. An interagency assessment on 8-10 March found that about 8,250 families (about 49,500 people) were displaced from Belet Xaawo town in February and early March, mostly to nearby villages, Luuq and Doolow towns. In recent days, about 30 per cent of those displaced have returned to Belet Xaawo town. Most of those affected are women and children who fled without basic necessities.
Most families that were displaced to Luuq and Doolow are living with the host communities. Ninety per cent of those who are not integrated among the host community or living with relatives, live in makeshift shelters (buuls), and are vulnerable to the elements including scorching sunshine. They also lack privacy, raising protection concerns. About 40 per cent of those living in makeshift shelters lack access to latrines and clean water, or the means to collect water from the nearby Juba river.
Families that are still displaced expressed fear that clashes could flare up again, noting that parties to the conflict have not yet defused the volatile military situation in the region. Unconfirmed reports indicate that a few new IDPs are still arriving in Luuq, Doolow and nearby villages. However, restrictions on movements along the main roads have reportedly been imposed by armed actors. The new IDPs are an addition to 207,000 displaced people living in Gedo region.
HUMANITARIAN IMPACT AND NEEDS
The interagency assessment, which involved 18 partners including United Nations and local agencies, found that the biggest need among displaced people is basic necessities; 90 per cent of people interviewed said they fled their homes ‘with nothing’. While the market in Belet Xaawo has re-opened, prices of food and other basic necessities like charcoal, have increased.
Five schools are closed, due to the tensions and displacement of some 130 teachers, affecting an estimated 6,500 students including those who cross the border daily to attend school in Kenya. Schools in the areas of displacement cannot accommodate more children and in addition, the displaced parents cannot afford double fees since they are not sure when they will go back home.
The assessment found that humanitarian partners can access Belet Xaawo town and nearby villages. Health facilities have not been adversely affected and are largely accessible. Urgent needs run the full spectrum of basic services and sustainment; emergency food assistance, cash grants, educational supplies, sanitary and hygiene supplies, safe drinking water, emergency shelter and non-food items (NFIs), mosquito nets, mobile health teams, life-saving medical supplies and AWD/cholera preparedness.
Humanitarian partners on the ground are using the assessment findings to plan urgent interventions. ACTED, through a local partner, is re-programming its unconditional cash transfers for 1,700 families and each family is expected to receive US$70 for one month. UNHCR is planning to airlift 1,500 NFI kits from Mogadishu to be distributed to 300 families in the region. Local authorities have appealed to humanitarian partners to provide urgent assistance especially shelter/NFIs, food items, food and water.
Any further Flash Updates will be dependent on changes in the situation.U N Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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