Ongoing fighting in Somalia over the past two weeks has claimed the lives of 18 people, injured a further 60 and displaced more than 75,000.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Monday that violence in Gaalkacyo could have actually claimed more victims than officially reported as people continue to flee the violence.
In an update on the situation in Gaalkacyo, which is in the north central part of the country, local authorities estimate that some 20 per cent of the fatalities and injuries are from stray bullets, and 60 per cent of the internally displaced (IDPs) in north Gaalkacyo face secondary displacement.
Approximately 40,000 people have faced secondary displacement, moving to the outskirts of the town.
Almost a year ago, the political leadership at the Federal level and the regional bodies such as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) launched successful efforts towards a cessation of hostilities.
They promised to bring peace this time as well. An assessment conducted by humanitarian agencies and local authorities reported no civilians currently within the fighting perimeter.
However, the lack of progress to establish peace in the region has been stressed by the locals.
OCHA also reported fresh clashes on Monday morning. There is also an urgent need for humanitarian aid, as all the resources previously deployed will no longer be enough if people continue to flee their homes.
Humanitarian partners report 13 IDP settlements in south Gaalkacyo and eight more abandoned in the north of the city.
The displaced people are in need of shelters, food, water and sanitation services, and protection, according to the OCHA update.
With the Deyr rainy season under way, many displaced persons – 80 per cent of whom are women, children and elderly – could be affected by natural hazards, such as flooding.
There is also little to no access to the port of Bossaso due to the fighting, which has affected Gaalkacyo’s livestock and trade.
In addition, all schools remain closed due to the violence, which has affected more than 20,000 students.
The danger of the armed conflict and concerns about staff safety have prevented humanitarian agencies from easily moving around the area to assist the population, resulting in a limited movement of humanitarian supplies.