IRC Responds in Somalia, but Says Crisis is Worsening
In a statement issued October 6, the agencies said, "Nearly half of Somalia's population, or 3.25 million people, are now in need of emergency aid. This is a 77 percent increase since the beginning of 2008."
A destructive combination of extreme drought, record-high food prices and "the indiscriminate and disproportional use of force by all armed parties to the conflict" are responsible for the escalating crisis, the statement said.
The 52 agencies call upon all parties to the conflict to allow aid agencies unhindered access to those in need of emergency assistance, and for the international community to make the protection of Somali civilians a top priority.
The IRC is responding to the rapidly deteriorating situation by providing urgent water and sanitation for tens of thousands of displaced people and the communities now hosting them.
IRC's emergency water, sanitation and hygiene programs — including the rehabilitation of a strategic water borehole that provides for 30,000 people — are situated in the central Mudug region, where thousands have fled Mogadishu.
IRC's Somalia country director Bruce Hickling says the growing insecurity is making it increasingly difficult to meet the needs of the population.
"Our activities are continuing but we are not able to operate at full capacity, which means that increasing assistance to meet the growing needs is going to be very difficult to achieve," said Hickling.