Friday, July 22, 2011

MSF / No more delays or restrictions for Somalis needing aid and refuge

GENEVA, SwitzerlandJuly 22, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- In light of the worsening nutritional crisis inSomalia, the international medical aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) urges all parties inside Somalia, neighbouring countries and the international community to significantly improve the assistance to the Somali population in the region and remove all hurdles that currently prevent the expansion of independent aid inside Somalia.

The current crisis is mostly affecting the Somali people. To assess the full needs of the population and to expand its emergency response in this complex environment, independent and immediate access inside Somalia is essential.

With limited assistance available in Somalia, thousands of Somalis arrive each week to various camp locations in the border areas of neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia. MSF teams report extremely high malnutrition rates amongst new arrivals. One child out of three suffers from acute malnutrition. Together with their families they face many delays because of an official closed border policy, administrative hurdles at reception sites in the camps before having to compete for the limited aid available in overstretched, chaotic and overpopulated refugee camps such as Dadaab in Kenya and Dolo Ado in Ethiopia.

Throughout the affected region MSF is treating over 10,000 severely malnourished children in its feeding centres and clinics. 'Every affected person should receive aid, inside Somalia or when fleeing to neighbouring countries, says Jean Clément Cabrol, Director of Operations of MSF. 'Kenya and Ethiopia host the vast majority of Somali refugees and should prioritise the opening of new camps and improve the existing ones. But the international community has a shared responsibility to help Somalis seeking refuge by ensuring efficient registration, adequate food rations and shelter in existing and new camps. The current bureaucratic restrictions and obstacles are causing unnecessary delays and all measures should be taken to respond to the emergency.'


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