Precautionary evacuation of MSF team in Lower Juba Valley, Somalia

Expat members of an MSF team based in Marere (Lower Juba Valley), southern Somalia, have been evacuated as a preventative measure. Warlord general Morgan has moved his troops to Kismayo and rumours are that he might attack before the weekend. MSF projects there are continuing with MSF Somali staff coordinating the activities. As Morgan's troops had to pass through the valley in which Marere lies, the MSF team was evacuated. The troop movement has increased the tension in southern Somalia. This increased instability comes at a particularly bad time. Right now people should be harvesting and gaining relief from a period of 'hunger gap' or food shortage. Instead, the harvest has failed again - for the third year in a row - compounding a food crisis situation that was already serious. Some 100,000 to 200,000 people may be affected. In the Marere area, the harvest has been devastated with up to 85% of the harvest lost. MSF has a therapeutic feeding programme in the Marere area for both the Ogaden and Bantu peoples (the Bantus being one of the most marginalised groups in Somalia). The therapeutic feeding centre has over 215 admissions per month and there is a supplementary feeding centre with more than 500 children receiving assistance. The team has started to distribute family rations. MSF also runs a health post in Marere.With the expatriate team evacuated, MSF Somali staff are continuing the activities.