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East African bloc to hold special summit on Somali refugees

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- A regional special summit will be held in Nairobi in March to help find durable solutions for Somalia refugees, the bloc said on Monday.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which comprises Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Djibouti,  Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and South Sudan said the summit to be held on March 25 will renew efforts to find durable and sustainable solutions for the crisis facing Somalia refugees.

“ The Summit in Nairobi will seek to galvanize recent developments at national, regional and global levels—supported by international solidarity and responsibility sharing—to reinforce asylum and protection in the region for the thousands of Somali refugees who still require it, while also renewing efforts to find durable and sustainable solutions,” it said in a statement.

During the 28th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government held in Mogadishu on September 13, 2016, the regional leaders decided to convene the special summit.

More than two million Somalis have been displaced in one of the world’s worst displacement crises that has now entered its third decade.

An estimated 1.1 million people are currently  internally displaced (IDPs) within Somalia, while nearly 900,000 -- mostly third generation—are refugees in the region, including in Kenya (324,000), Ethiopia (241,000), Yemen (255,000), Uganda (39,500), and Djibouti (13,000).



WHO seeks 10 mln USD to scale up health response in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday that it requires 10 million U.S. dollars to help provide critical health services for 1.5 million Somalis currently affected by severe drought conditions and a worsening food crisis.

WHO said the funds which is part of the UN appeal for the first six months of 2017 will enable the UN agency to provide medical supplies to health facilities in drought-affected areas.

“Somalia is now at a critical point as a result of this drought and environmental hazards and lack of basic services,” WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Mahmoud Fikri said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

The humanitarian situation in Somalia continues to deteriorate, and there is a high risk that the country will face its third famine in 25 years.

More than 6.2 million people—half of the total population—are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, including almost 3 million facing a food security crisis.

Nearly 5.5 million people are at risk of contracting waterborne diseases, more than half of whom are women and children under five years of age.

Fikri said less than half of the population in Somalia has access to basic health services and WHO is providing all possible support to address the ongoing challenges and reduce the dire consequences of drought and pre-famine.

Acute drought in many parts of Somalia has reduced the availability of clean water sources, and the food crisis has given way to malnutrition.


Five Somali security officers injured in car explosion

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- At least five Somali security officers were on Monday injured in car bombing explosion at the main security checkpoint, Afgoye Junction, south of the capital Mogadishu on Monday, officials said.

Spokesperson of the Benadir regional Administration Abdifitah Omar Halane told reporters that the National Intelligence and Security Agency however foiled the terrorist attack which could have caused more casualties.

“Security officers foiled the car bomb attack, two soldiers and three policemen were injured in the incident. The security officers had been pursuing the terror suspects since morning,” Halane said.

Halane added that the driver of the exploded vehicle escaped with injuries, but security operation is underway in the area.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the latest incident but Al-Shabaab insurgents have carried out a string of car bomb attacks on police and military in recent months.


Two killed as huge fire destroys sections of market in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- At least two people were killed and another injured after an inferno razed down some parts of Bakara market, the biggest market in Mogadishu.

Benadir Regional Administration confirmed the death toll of two businessmen, saying property of unknown value was destroyed in the inferno. The fire destroyed shopping malls and stores in the market.

“The fire started mid night and caused human casualties and property loss, it is a tragedy and we will help those who lost their businesses in this fire. We will also will make safe way to immediate handle such problems”, Mogadishu Mayor Yusuf Hussein Jimale told reporters in the market.

“I cannot recognize my business center here, all my property is lost,” a local named Muse Moalim said. The fire fighters managed to put out the fire, but it was too late.

The authorities have not established the cause of the inferno but local authorities suspect it could be an electric fault.




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