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Oxfam Boosts Aid Effort to Thousands Fleeing New Fighting in Somalia

INTERNATIONAL - International agency Oxfam
today said it is increasing its emergency response in Somalia,
providing water, shelter and other aid to thousands fleeing deadly new
violence in the country's capital.

"War, drought and malnutrition
are thrusting Somalia towards even greater catastrophe. Tens of
thousands are on the move, hundreds of thousands are displaced and more
than three million are in dire need of aid," said Hassan Noor, Oxfam's
Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, just returned from Afgooye a few
miles south of the capital Mogadishu. Many of the 70,000 people who
have fled Mogadishu in the past few weeks are now sheltering in Afgooye.

400,000 people made homeless by years of conflict are now taking refuge
in Afgooye. Working through local partners, Oxfam is providing shelter
and mosquito nets to families who have arrived there in recent days,
and has expanded its water and sanitation system to aid an additional
84,000 displaced people. Oxfam is now supplying water to over 200,000
people in Afgooye and plans to increase its efforts further in the
coming months. The agency's local partner organisations will also soon
begin providing specialist care and food to 9,500 of the most severely
malnourished children and mothers in Mogadishu itself.

Hassan Noor said: "Living
conditions in Afgooye are some of the worst I have ever seen. I
couldn't see a single shelter fit for human beings, and thousands of
people have nothing to sleep under or protect them from the searing
heat and heavy rains. I saw sick children lying on the floor with
diarrhoea and disease. I saw a young girl who had been shot in the
head, fleeing with her family. People told me they expect the situation
to get even worse in the next few weeks - more people are going to be
killed or forced to flee for their lives, and the humanitarian need
here is going to keep rising."   Hassan Noor continued: "Local
Somali aid workers, who are working tirelessly to get help to thousands
of people, need support from the rest of the world. The recent fighting
has made the humanitarian crisis in Somalia even worse, at a time when
nearly half the country's population is already in desperate need of
aid. Families are struggling to cope with a lack of food and basic
services, and the worst drought Somalia has seen in more than a decade."

warned that if the new fighting continues, it will become even more
difficult for aid agencies to respond to the enormous needs. Somalia is
already one of the most dangerous places in the world in which to
deliver humanitarian assistance, with 40 aid workers killed since the
beginning of 2008. The agency called on all parties to the conflict to
comply with international humanitarian law and allow aid to be safely
provided to all who need it.

Notes to editors

this week flew nine tons of aid into Mogadishu, consisting of blankets,
mosquito nets, plastic sheeting for shelter, 3,500 buckets for storing
and carrying clean water, and medical aid including syringes and
antibiotics. Further deliveries will be made over the coming weeks.

Contact information

Noor is available for interviews on the humanitarian situation in
Somalia. To arrange interviews and for more information, contact:

Andrea Pattison - Oxfam Novib in Nairobi, on +254 736 476 514, Alun McDonald - Oxfam GB in Nairobi, on +254 73 666 6663,

Read more

Conflict in Somalia - We're providing desperately needed water to 230,000 people.


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Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

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