The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


January 10, 2007

Action by Churches Together assists Somalians in Gedo region

As fighting in Somalia intensifies, Action by Churches Together (ACT) International member Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) is mobilizing staff and resources to respond to the displacement of people in the Gedo region. NCA is the only ACT member and international aid agency present in Gedo region. ACT is a global alliance of churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities in emergencies, of which the Lutheran World Federation is a member.

NCA has been reinforcing its operational capacity from Mandera (north east of Kenya) and Garbaharrey in the Gedo region of Somalia to respond to the worsening humanitarian situation during which thousands of people have been displaced by recent clashes between Ethiopian forces and the Islamic Courts Union. Relief items, including plastic sheeting, blankets, cooking utensils and household items, as well as water containers for up to 1,000 families are being purchased and sent from Nairobi this week. Inside Somalia, thousands of people fleeing the conflict are reported to be caught in a desperate situation.

NCA field staff in Garbaharrey report that some 10,000 people have been displaced after fleeing the fighting further south. People continue to arrive in the area and are setting up camp in surrounding villages - a situation that is overwhelming for the host communities. There are also reports of several thousand people displaced in the Bay, Hirann, Mudug, Juba and Shabelle regions.

Although no large-scale refugee movements from Somalia have yet been recorded in neighboring countries, ACT members in Kenya continue to monitor the situation. NCA has so far allocated $40,000 from its emergency fund and plans to request additional support through the ACT Rapid Response Fund. NCA has also applied for emergency funding through the Norwegian Ministry of Home Affairs to respond to this crisis.

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