Mogadishu: new wave of violence prevents people from getting medical assistance
26 July 2007
Last May, Médecins Sans Fronti$egrave;res (MSF) opened a pediatric clinic for children under five in the Halwadag district of Mogadishu. Since then, the clinic has been extended and increasing numbers of children have been admitted for treatment. In Mogadishu today there are very few public health facilities that are still functioning and the population is struggling to get medical assistance. Over the past few weeks there have been rising tensions in Mogadishu, where the Somalia reconciliation process is currently taking place. More troops are circulating in the streets and, since the beginning of July, there have been daily explosions and gunfire battles with civilian casualties. People have started to flee the city again. The increasing insecurity is having an effect on access to the recently opened MSF clinic, as patients have more and more difficulties in trying to reach it. People are too scared to walk in the streets and the public transport services are getting worse because of the deteriorating security situation. At the beginning of July, the average number of children in the MSF clinic was 150 per day while last week the patient numbers dropped significantly to 100 per day as a result of the unrest and explosions near the MSF clinic. The increasing violence is affecting everyone in the capital. It is preventing people from seeking medical assistance as well as preventing medical staff and humanitarian agencies from reaching those most in need. Recently, some of the few remaining health facilities have been unable to offer continuous assistance and at times they have been unable to even respond to the most basic needs. The civilian population is once again the main victim of the great instability and violence in Mogadishu, and the present conflict is worsening the already critical situation. MSF calls upon all fighting parties to respect civilian safety. MSF has been present in Mogadishu since 1994. Currently MSF is working in the Somali capital, as well as elsewhere in the country, providing different medical services.