In a report released today, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) highlights violence, displacement and food shortages as salient features of Somalia's humanitarian landscape.
The report, Hear My Voice, draws on the testimonies of more than 800 Somali patients attending MSF medical facilities in Somalia and in Ethiopian refugee camps. Patients describe a consistent pattern of high vulnerability and needs related to basic survival such as food, health care and protection from violence.
"As the Somalia government and the international community look to a brighter future in Somalia with a focus on stability and development, we cannot forget that many thousands of people are still exposed to extreme levels of violence and in need of emergency lifesaving assistance," says operations manager Joe Belliveau.
Over half of the people interviewed report being displaced from their homes; approximately half of them stated that violence and fear of attack, and another third stated the shortage of food, as the main reasons for displacement.
"Lack of security, lack of food, lack of humanity, lack of freedom and family separation are the hardest things in life. I have been displaced more than 10 times in my life. My husband died in an attack, and two of my children died because I was not able to give them food," reported a 25-year-old woman from Lower Juba.
The report emphasises that humanitarian assistance must remain a priority in large parts of south-central Somalia and that it must remain independent of any political agenda.
Download the report: http:www.msf.org/hear-my-voice
MSF has worked continuously in Somalia since 1991, and does not receive any government or institutional funding for its Somalia programmes. Despite a reduction in activities over the past two years related to insecurity and attacks on its staff, MSF continues to provide lifesaving medical care to hundreds of thousands of Somalis in ten regions of the country, as well as in neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia.
On 13 October 2011 two MSF workers, Montserrat Serra and Blanca Thiebaut, were abducted from Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. MSF believes that its two colleagues are being held in Somalia and appeals for their unconditional release.