MSF just put out a warning that the majority of the populaiton of north Mogadishu has fled as fighing escalated in the Somali capital.  They have even had to close a pediatric hospital and three health clinics in the city. 

MSF just put out a warning that the majority of the populaiton of north Mogadishu has fled as fighing escalated in the Somali capital.

 Somalia has displaced people in clusters throughout the country; 1.2 million people are now displaced. Things there are so bad and dangerous that you can find people fleeing to the same places others are fleeing from, as each family tries to calculate their best odds for safety. The capital, Mogadishu, is an example; it’s got ten years of internally displaced persons (IDPs) accumulated in camps in and around the city. Right now, people from conflict-affected villages are heading for Mogadishu even as people are leaving the city in droves. 204,000 people have been displaced from Mogadishu since May, one of the worst waves that has been seen. At the same time, about 30,000 have arrived to the city since February. Reliefweb has an excellent map of population movements.

 That was a really long introduction to possibly the only good news you will hear about Somalia for the next year. Women’s groups in Mogadishu are doing their best to help IDPs in the city. Asha Sha’ur, an activist, described in IRIN Africa how women’s groups can access IDP camps. “We have had problems but both sides to the conflict have been good at allowing us [women] to help the needy. When they see a bunch of women they don’t bother us…” Larger agencies are trying to tap into that ability to move freely and understand local context; the UN is looking for consultants from the Somali diaspora willing to do 3-6 month consultancies in-country.

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