Violence in the central Somali region of Galgadud has made "it hard, if not impossible, for humanitarian workers" to reach those in need of help, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says.
"Many [displaced people] are reported to be sleeping in the open with dwindling shelter and little water," Roberta Russo, UNHCR Somalia spokeswoman, said on 3 February
"There are also growing concerns about the health of particularly vulnerable groups such as children, women and the elderly," she said.
Fighting between various groups in central Somalia and in Mogadishu escalated in January, displacing an estimated 80,000 people.
At least 29,000 fled Dusamareb in Galgadud, while 25,000 fled renewed clashes in Beled Weyne in Hiraan, UNHCR said. Both regions are in central Somalia.
In Mogadishu, where at least 18,000 have fled ongoing clashes, most of those affected had returned to the city, thinking it was more peaceful. However, on 31 January “parts of the city experienced some of the most intense shelling we have seen in a long time," said Ali Sheikh Yassin, deputy chairman of the Mogadishu-based Elman Human Rights Organization (EHRO).
|Galgadud Region (file)|
The worst-hit Mogadishu areas included Huriwa, Yaqshiid in the north and Dayniile (northwest). "Many of those who fled had returned from camps thinking that the situation was better," he said.
Fadumo Mahamud, who fled her home in the Suuqa Hoolaha area of Huriwa District on 1 February, said she left after shelling continued for one and half hours.
"The shelling was so bad," she told IRIN from an IDP camp on the outskirts of the city. "It was hitting everywhere. This was the second time I had fled my home; what they did on Sunday [31 January] was inhuman."
Leyla Abdi, who fled her home in Yaqshiid District after a shell landed on her neighbour’s home, said: "The mother and her six children were killed instantly. I simply had to take my children away."
The fighting, EHRO’s Yassin said, now seemed to have spread in south and central Somalia. "What is happening in Beled Weyne and Dusamareb is between a new force Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama [a moderate Islamist group], Al-Shabab and Hsibul Islam," he said.
A local journalist in Dusamareb, who requested anonymity, said very few displaced civilians had returned to the town. Both Al-Shabab and Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama were reportedly preparing for "all out war", he said.
Displaced civilians, he said, were facing serious shortages of water.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions