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U.N. Issues Alert Over Deteriorating Health Situation In Somalia

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued an alert on Thursday “seeking donor help” to address the health situation in southern and central Somalia, “which has continued to deteriorate due to latest fighting in [the capital of] Mogadishu,” Xinhua reports. In the alert, OCHA said civil strife has had a “debilitating effect” on the social services infrastructure – particularly health services – in the country, Xinhua writes. “With the country already facing one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world, the humanitarian health community is finding itself constrained by the health funding deficit, leaving a number of critical life-saving health projects uninitiated and ongoing ones under threat of cessation,” OCHA said.

OCHA said poor access to health services is leading to an increase in “communicable disease outbreaks, rising rates of severe acute malnutrition, and falling immunization rates, among other effects,” according to the news service. The alert followed a similar one by aid agencies in Somalia seeking $11 million for emergency water and sanitation needs of those who have fled Mogadishu in recent weeks (7/17).

More than 200,000 people have fled Mogadishu since “fighting broke out between the government and the opposition Al-Shabab and Hisb-ul-Islam groups in early May,” in what the OCHA has described as the “biggest exodus from the capital since Ethiopian forces intervened in Somalia in 2007,” the U.N. News Centre writes (7/14).

According to that appeal, OCHA said UNICEF “requires $3.3 million before the end of July to maintain life-saving operations for more than 1 million conflict-affected people, while current emergency funding allocated for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is likely to be exhausted within the next two months,” afrol News reports. The appeal said more than $2.1 million is needed to provide water to drought-affected communities in the south-central region of the country (7/15).