Somalia has the ‘worst humanitarian crisis on earth’

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Despite international efforts to end the Somali conflict that has spanned two decades, the Horn of African nation still retains tag of the country with the the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today, UN humanitarian agency, UNHCR, says in its March-April 2007 newsletter made available to panapress, Friday said.

The newsletter, which contains firsthand testimonies of civilians who have endured the most of the “protracted and dirty conflict,” indicted parties in the conflict for extreme brutality and “utter disregard for basic international humanitarian law and human rights principles.”

UNHCR said the severity of the situation is exacerbated by intermittent humanitarian interventions owing to uncompromising warlords and their militiamen.

“Aid workers who are trying to improve the situation of the Somali people continue to face serious limitations of access to the affected populations due to security constraints,” UNHCR, whose workers are frequently caught up in the crossfire, said in the newsletter.

It added, “We are calling on the parties to the conflict – and on all those who have an influence over them – understand the importance of sparing civilians from the suffering of war.”

It says that women, children, the elderly and the handicapped are amongst those who suffer the most.

“We all have the responsibility to help bring an end to this situation. It is clear that the only way forward for Somalia, and for the Somali people, is a clear commitment to political dialogue and the understanding that conflict and war will not solve the problems, but will aggravate them further,” the UNHCR noted.

The newsletter says that the exodus of residents of the capital Mogadishu continues as result to the volatile situation in the country and delayed deployment of African peacekeepers to guard President Yusuf Abdullahi’s fragile interim transitional government.

As a result, it said, “Almost one year after the exodus out of Mogadishu began, driving 700,000 inhabitants from their houses in 2007, families are still fleeing the capital daily. Ongoing skirmishes pushed another 40,000 civilians to leave in January 2008.” Panapress.

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