UN mission in Somalia focuses on displaced persons

A top United Nations humanitarian official for Somalia has held talks in Mogadishu with the country's transitional government officials on how to improve the delivery of humanitarian assistance in the Horn of African nation, the UN agency said on Saturday.

A statement from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Eric Laroche, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia led the joint mission to the capital on Thursday to discuss the needs of the hundreds of the displaced Somalis where deadly clashes have forced 490,00 Somalis to flee the war-ravaged city between February and May.

While in Mogadishu, the UN team stressed that in repossessing public buildings in which the displaced had been living, the transitional government "should respect international standards and provide alternate solutions for the displaced."

"While in Mogadishu, the mission underscored that providing basic services to the displaced, as well as the wider community, continues to be the focus of humanitarian activities," said OCHA.

According to OCHA, an estimated 112,000 have returned to the capital since May and most of them are attempting to restore their livelihoods after having lost property during the conflict.

Others who wish to return "face uncertainty over the government's future use of public buildings and the destruction of many of the buildings in which they formerly lived," OCHA said.

"To date, the majority of those returning to Mogadishu have come from Lower and Middle Shabelle regions, with 65,000 and 34, 000 returnees respectively," it said.

"About 5,000 people have returned from Gedo, 2,000 from Bay, and 1,700 from Hiran, Mudug and Middle Juba. Additionally, some 1, 700 people displaced within Mogadishu have returned home," OCHA said.

However, the Office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that during the month of June almost 1,500 people fled insecurity and sporadic violence in Mogadishu, with almost 600 of these heading north to Galkayo.

Growing tension and insecurity have also been reported elsewhere in South and Central Somalia, according to OCHA.

In the area around Kismayo (Lower Juba), UNHCR reports that up to 10,000 people may have moved to Kismayo town as a result of ongoing clan conflict.

Source: Xinhua

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