IDPs in Luuq seek humanitarian assistance

NAIROBI, 22 October 2012 (IRIN) - Thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Luuq, in Somalia's southern Gedo Region, say their overcrowded settlements are desperately short of basic needs, from shelter to clean water.
"The majority of the population here in these camps are women, children and elderly people who fled from recent battles and droughts in Bay, Bakool and lower Juba. There has been no basic human needs provision for the last months, the condition of the camps is deteriorating as there is no shelter, food or adequate health attention, and it's the raining period," said Ali Mohamed, leader of one of the makeshift camps in the area.
According to Mohamed, up to 3,000 families are in need of humanitarian support. He noted that the situation was particularly serious as the 'Gu' seasonal rains - which last from September to December - had started and were putting the population at risk of waterborne diseases.
Ahmed Dagawyne, head of the local NGO Centre for Research and Integrated Development (CeRID) told IRIN that, although humanitarian assistance had started trickling in, there remains a wide gap in addressing the IDPs’ needs.
Andreas Needham, public information officer for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), told IRIN that the agency was aware of the situation in Luuq.
"UNHCR is operating through local partner organizations on the ground, and on 10 October distributed 2,000 emergency assistance packages and 2,000 hypothermia kits to 4,000 needy households," he told IRIN via email.
The emergency assistance packages - also known as non-food items - include blankets, sleeping mats, a plastic sheet, a kitchen set, a jerry can and soap. The hypothermia kits contain blankets, mattresses and plastic sheeting, among other things.
"This initiative is being undertaken as a result of lessons learned following the 1992 famine, when a number of children succumbed as a result of the onset of the cold conditions," Needham said.
UNHCR estimates that the current IDP population in Luuq is 16,380, occupying 10 settlements; many of them were displaced over the last two years following the 2011 food crisis.
Theme (s): Aid Policy, Conflict, Early Warning, Health & Nutrition, Refugees/IDPs, Water & Sanitation,
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]