International staff with the independent medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have resumed their humanitarian work in several locations in Somalia. Following the brutal killings of three MSF aid workers on January 28 in the southern city of Kismayo, MSF suspended its international staff presence in the country. Programs continued to be run thanks to the dedication of MSF Somali staff members. While MSF continues to examine the circumstances surrounding the murders in Kismayo, recent assessments were carried out in some of the 14 MSF project locations to determine local security conditions. In selected locations where security conditions were deemed acceptable, MSF decided to return limited international staff given the acute humanitarian needs. Assessments in other locations are still ongoing. As violence continues unabated, generating more massive displacements of populations, humanitarian assistance remains scant in Somalia, one of the most challenging and most severe humanitarian crises in the world today. MSF is frustrated by its inability to reach more patients because of security concerns. MSF reiterates its outrage at the attack in Kismayo, which appears to have been a targeted assault on humanitarian aid workers.
MSF has worked continuously in Somalia for more than 16 years and is currently providing medical care in eleven regions in the country. In 2007, MSF opened several new projects in response to the enormous medical and humanitarian needs arising from the ongoing conflict. Medical teams performed more than 2,500 surgical operations, 520,000 outpatient consultations and admitted around 23,000 patients to hospitals.