Somalia - Struggling to reach the sick

September 2009

Displaced Somalis in a temporary settlement inside the Afgooye Corridor strip of land outside of Mogadishu.
Dr Omar Saleh/WHO

Somalia's humanitarian crisis has sunk to its lowest point in two decades, with escalated hostilities since May around the capital, Mogadishu, putting the lives of millions, including women and children, at risk and jeopardizing recent health gains.

Almost 3.6 million people nationwide need emergency assistance, among them 1.5 million Somalis displaced by violence and hampered by a fifth-consecutive season of drought. In recent months, 500 000 of these displaced have been uprooted yet again by violence around Mogadishu, heaping further humanitarian hardship onto these war-weary people.

Low funding of humanitarian efforts is another major concern. Emergency health interventions such as mobile clinics for displaced people's settlements and the early warning and surveillance of key infectious and communicable diseases are at great risk due to this lack of funding.

This photo essay highlights the humanitarian health challenges facing Somalis in this chronically troubled part of the world and the efforts by health providers to try meet their needs.

Read the photo story

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