United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) staff members check the health condition of a boy inside the IDP camp in Doolow, a border town with Ethiopia, in Somalia, on March 20, 2017. One out of seven Somali children dies before its fifth birthday, and acute malnutrition weakens the immune system, which makes affected children more susceptible to disease such as measles, a UN spokesman told reporters earlier this month. In Somalia, drought conditions are threatening an already fragile population battered by decades of conflict. Almost half the population are facing acute food insecurity and in need of humanitarian assistance. Some 185,000 children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year, and the figure may rise to 270,000 in the next few months, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said in February. (Xinhua/Sun Ruibo)
MOGADISHU, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Attacks on aid workers delivering supplies in Somalia resulted in the death of four staff between January and June, the UN humanitarian agency said on Thursday.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said over 90 violent incidents impacted humanitarian personnel, facilities and assets leading to the injury of nine, arrests and temporary detention of six and abduction of 13.
"The upsurge is mainly due to an increase in targeted attacks against humanitarian organizations by nonstate armed actors, and increased violence at aid distribution sites," said OCHA in its June bulletin.
According to the UN, seven humanitarian workers have so far been expelled from Somalia by authorities within the first half of the year.
It also said there has also been an increase in the number of violent armed incidents associated with relief aid distributions.
"By the end of June, nearly 30 incidents that accounted for the death of 32 civilians and injury of 38 others had been recorded across the country, the majority of which were associated with food distribution conducted by local authorities," the UN said.
The Horn of Africa nation has been mired in conflict since civil war broke out in 1991 and is one of the most difficult countries for relief agencies to operate in.
The Islamist group, Al-Shabaab, which is fighting to topple the Western-backed government has been targeting humanitarian workers for political gain, sometimes demanding ransom in order to free the hostages.
According to OCHA, there are ongoing dialogue and advocacy efforts with relevant authorities and actors to put in place mitigation measures.
"The possibility of providing training to the security forces charged with safeguarding relief supplies and crowd control during distributions is also being explored," it said.
The UN humanitarian agency said rising road access challenges also continue to be reported along the Mogadishu-Afgooye route and access roads to Dinsoor, Xudur and Wajid.
During the second quarter of 2017, non-state armed actors intensified blockades on Dinsoor, Wajid and parts of Xudur, including seizure and destruction of donkey carts owned by civilians that served as the last link of supplies for some communities.