SOMALIA CARE Presses for Humanitarian Access

SOMALIA (January 17, 2007) – The installation of the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu has put an end to large-scale military confrontation, at least for the time being, but an estimated 1.8 million Somalis are still at risk because of natural disasters which ravaged the country throughout much of 2006. An estimated 1.4 million people were deprived of livelihood by droughts that killed off much of the livestock, an important source of income. Another 400,000 people were displaced by severe flooding that took place in the last months of 2006. Nearly all the people affected are in desperate need of immediate humanitarian assistance. Now that the conflict has ended, CARE has been insisting that open humanitarian access to all parts of the country is vital to saving lives. Humanitarian aid is also essential in stemming an exodus to Kenya, where CARE and UNHCR are currently running refugee camps for 172,000 people. Nearly 35,000 Somalis fled across the border to Kenya during the fighting in 2006. The camps, near Dadaab in northeast Kenya, were also badly damaged by floods.

CARE has run active programmes in Somalia since 1981, but transferred its CARE Somalia headquarters operation to Nairobi after fighting broke out in 1991. CARE also operates offices in Puntland and Somaliland. Although some of CARE's Somalia work had to be put on hold during the fighting between the TFG and the Union of Islamic Courts, CARE managed to maintain activities in areas where it could operate safely. CARE is anxious to resume activities in the affected areas as soon as possible.

Care's work in Somalia focuses on large-scale emergency relief and refugee assistance, construction of water facilities, primary healthcare, and small-scale enterprise development. There are additional programmes on local institution building, primary school education and agriculture.

Note to editors

CARE International is one of the world's leading non-governmental organizations, working in 65 countries to tackle long-term causes of poverty and responding to emergencies.

For more information, contact William Dowell at CARE International in Geneva.
[email protected] or Tel: +41 79 590 30 47