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Somalia: Politics and Government

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made of the humanitarian situation in Somalia following the Transitional Federal Government’s arrival in Mogadishu; and if she will make a statement. (136517)

The fighting in April in Mogadishu has hampered relief efforts. We are extremely concerned about the humanitarian situation in Somalia and we are monitoring the situation closely.

The UN has reported that over 300,000 persons, mostly women and children, were displaced by the violence since the beginning of February. The UN further reported that these displaced persons had little in the way of proper shelter, food, clean water, sanitation, health facilities and protection, and that the presence of a cholera outbreak added to their vulnerability. We welcome the cessation in hostilities over the last two weeks and urge all parties in Somalia to maintain this truce in order to allow humanitarian relief work to resume. We are encouraged by the reports that some of those displaced are now returning to their homes and by the resumption of food distribution by the World Food Programme in Mogadishu.

Since February, the UK has provided emergency humanitarian assistance of around £3.5 million. This is in addition to the UK’s annual development and humanitarian programme for Somalia, currently £21 million. The UK was the second largest bilateral humanitarian donor to Somalia in 2006.