Sunday, 31 July 2011

THE DROUGHT AND FAMINE IN SOUTHERN SOMALIA: “ONLY PEACE AND AN IMMEDIATE CEASEFIRE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE”



OPEN LETTER TO THE EXCELLENCES: THE SOMALI PRESIDENT SHEIKH SHARIF SHEIKH AHMED, THE PRIME MINISTER ABDIWELI MOHAMED ALI, THE SPEAKER OF THE PARLIAMENT SHARIF HASSAN SHEIKH ADAM, THE LEADER OF HARAKAT AL-SHABAAB AL-MUJAHIDEEN AMIIR AHMED GODANE, AND THE UN SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SOMALIA AUGUSTINE MAHIGA
BY: DR KHALIF BILE

Excellencies: The world is watching and your actions will make history:
The ongoing drought and famine in Somalia reflects one of the painful moments of our recent tragic history.  The compassion and support being provided by the international community cannot be a substitute to the collective imperative role of the Somalis, in the peace building and peacemaking efforts that they can generate from within. Although a large number of Somalis are directly observing the tragedy, many of us are physically detached by thousands of kilometers from the tragedy that has struck many provinces of Somalia. Our hearts are broken when we meet these victims or watch the TV and see mothers carrying severely malnourished children, and narrating to the media the long and tragic journeys they have endured, and their loved ones that could not subsist their harsh attempts to escape for survival. However, this is not a time to shed tears, rather, “now is the time for action”. Accordingly, as an expert in the field of humanitarian crisis, I am sending this message to the Somalis and to the world community, offering some concrete suggestion than can help in the emergency response process and resolve the challenges of “Access” and “Security” faced by the humanitarian organizations.
I.                  ONLY A COMMITTED AND COORDINATED LOCAL ACTION CAN DRIVE A SUCCESSFUL HUMANITARIAN RELIEF OPERATION
The prolonged droughts have led to the current famine in Southern Somalia, labeled as the worst humanitarian disaster currently being witnessed at the global level. This disaster is posing the risk of death to over 2.5 million inhabitants.  The risk is imminent and this can leave a devastating legacy in the history of this nation. The ultimate responsibility for averting the undesirable consequences of this disaster falls on the shoulders of the current Somalia government, the rulers of and the affected regions and the international humanitarian community. The most important UN agency responsible for food relief related humanitarian interventions has declared that they are unable to provide support to these victims as access is being denied. This is the agency that collects food aid from most donating governments and organizations in the world and transfers these to the needy populations, especially children and mothers present in the affected regions of the world.
In Somalia we have a population in a dire need for food, emergency health response, water, protection, shelter and other support immediately now, and for a post emergency recovery support of at least two years.
WHY THE RELIEF IN SOUTHERN SOMALIA IS CHALLENGING AND MOST SEVERE?
1.      There is a serious scarcity of food resources in the famine affected regions caused by the prolonged drought and by the lack of peace and security that made the people unable to effectively engage in their daily livelihoods
2.      The restrictions put on humanitarian organizations that have limited their relief operations in the affected regions be it food, health care services and provision of water and shelter
3.      The affected areas are also  difficult to access, why the willing Somali NGOs/CSOs for relief purposes are unable to operate freely in the area
4.      The active armed conflict in the region has posed high risk to aid transportation and to aid workers
5.      The lack of any meaningful communication on humanitarian aid provision, between the  Harakat-Alshabab and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has ignited more suspicion, distrust and hostile confrontations
6.      The lack of experienced local relief organizations in the famine affected regions and the inability of the local governance to generate international trust for a transparent and fair distribution of the food aid
7.      The denial of access for international aid monitors whose presence in the field provides the required evidence to maintain the humanitarian support, matching the local with the required provisions, and also to verify the efficiency of food storage, management and distribution processes
8.       The inability of the TFG to access the affected regions for the provision of humanitarian support
9.      The pastoral and rain fed dependent economy in the drought regions has made the local population highly vulnerable to natural and manmade disasters, making the recovery phase of this emergency most critical and urgent.
THE SOMALIS HAVE TO RISE TO THE OCCASION AND THE WORLD COMMUNITY HAS TO ACT

The aspiration of every responsible Somali is to do everything he or she can, to save the lives of these victims and facilitate their access to food and other humanitarian relief. The following need to be implemented on immediate basis:
1.      DECLARATION OF IMMEDIATE CESSATION OF ALL HOSTILITIES BETWEEN THE WARRING PARTIES

a)      The TFG should declare a unilateral cessation of all sorts of fighting with Al-Shabab for a period of three months to allow the free movement of food aid and aid workers and that should be supported by the UN
b)     The Harakat Al-Shabab Al Mujahiddin organization to declare an immediate cessation of all forms of fighting for the same period of time

2.      ENSURING GOOD GOVERNANCE OF THE RELIEF OPERATIONS

a)      Formation of relief Committees: The authorities of each of the two parties should immediately constitute a Relief Committee that works closely with the relief agencies and facilitates the humanitarian action securing a good governance for the in-coming relief goods in the areas that fall under their respective influence and control

b)     The TFG and Harakat Al-Shabab Al-Mujahidiin should ensure transparent and efficiency distribution of aid and prevent any mismanagement of the aid resources as this will defeat the purpose of the relief operation and discourage the humanitarian organizations to provide any further sustained support

3.      ENSURE FREE, SAFE AND UNIMPEDED ACCESS OF ALL HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS TO THE AFFECTED REGIONS

a)      Providing Permission to all humanitarian organizations to serve: The Harakat Al-Shabab Al-Mujaahidiin should allow all agencies willing to bring humanitarian aid to the affected populations with full permission to operate freely, with close coordination with and under the protection of the local authorities to produce maximum beneficial outputs in their noble effort to save lives.

b)     Formation of Humanitarian Police Security Units: The TFG and Alshabab have to create their respectiveHumanitarian Police Security Units” that will operate in the areas under their respective control with the responsibility to guard and protect the transportation, warehousing and distribution of food aid and ensure the security of Aid Workers.  

4.      STARTING THE EARLY RECOVERY RELIEF PHASE

a)      Rapid Needs Assessment: Undertake a rapid needs assessment for Early Recovery and Assist the local population to reestablish their community livelihoods and promote economic recovery interventions for sustainable survival  
b)     Extending the Ceasefire: Explore options for extending the ceasefire and negotiating peace, as the major underlying cause of the thousands of unjustified deaths in the region is the lack of peace and protracted conflict
c)       Peace Negotiation for Human Survival: For human survival, all doors must be knocked, and peace negotiations established with all parties when that is the only way to save life as is the case in Somalia


5.      THE ROLE OF THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY:
The two decades long conflict ridden governance crisis in Somalia has resulted in serious consequences that the world community cannot ignore. The salient among these include: the lost peace and stability in a member state of the United nations; the repeated humanitarian crisis emerging every few years with significant loss of life and humanitarian investment; the huge refugee outflow and internally displaced populations with significant sufferings attached; the regionalization of the conflict that has mandated the fielding of a high contingent of peacekeeping forces; the spread of the piracy phenomenon with its impact on international trade; the unlawful maritime activities and illegal fishing in the seashores of Somalia and the hazardous waste dumping in the Somali sea. Moreover, the Somali nation has been fragmented to political, regional, religious and tribal factions that have led to the failure of every effort for peace. These are conditions that will have a larger regional impact and cannot be ignored by the nationals and international community. The following are key explicit roles to be assumed:

a)      Action for Peace by the Somalis: The Somalis have to use their deep and culturally rooted principles of negotiation for Peace, founded on generating legitimate, valid and mutually acceptable solutions to every outstanding problem. The latter is substantiated by the traditional negotiation culture of the Somalis engraved in their proverbs i.e. “Before you negotiate for a case, check its validity-the culture of prenegotiaiton”; “give sweet milk to your negotiating enemy-building confidence”; “if you cannot get what you want, negotiate the indispensible possible-the best alternative to a negotiated agreement”; “If there was not a flexible side in a negotiation, the sky would not rain-the culture of win-win option” etc.). The emerging extreme political, religious and tribal outlook; the struggle for power; and the lack of real sacrifice for peaceful coexistence of the nation and peacemaking in the country has made others label Somalia as a “Failed State” and put our social and governance indicators at the bottom of all nations of the world. The Somali People and their current rulers of Somalia, whether they control a district, a province or an entire region have to stand for the revival of peace and stability and take the leadership in achieving this goal, and realize that the international support will only be effective and useful when they assume their prime responsibility of a nation building vision. The Somali Diaspora should play a responsible role by supporting the peace and unity building option, this being the only positive contribution they can and need to offer.
b)     Urgent and Meaningful Support by the International Community:  To effectively respond to this major disaster and avert other similar disasters in the future, the international community has to sponsor serious peace building and peacemaking political interventions that can drive the different Somali political leaders and rulers to sanity and the population to peace, stability and development. In the Somali tradition, the peace negotiation platform brings people from the negotiating sides who have the full support and confidence of their constituencies and also represent the existing internal diversity of opinions within each negotiating partner group, to ensure that the negotiation process is widely shared and final decisions have the shared acceptance of all parties. It is therefore important to consider holding the key negotiations inside the country, and if that is logistically difficult, to hold the early phases of these negotiations (pre-negotiations) at national level, to allow the above outlined wider levels of participation. Somalia needs a comprehensive humanitarian-cum-peace building-cum development. The sensitive geographical location of the country should attract the African, Arab and International powers to help resolve the crisis of a country deeply engulfed by a chronic complex emergency and a failure of its national institutions.

The current humanitarian crisis in Southern Somalia should act as the Alarm Bell that is pound to awake the Somalis and the world community to their moral obligations and commitments to social justice and peace


OPEN LETTER TO THE EXCELLENCES: THE SOMALI PRESIDENT SHEIKH SHARIF SHEIKH AHMED, THE PRIME MINISTER ABDIWELI MOHAMED ALI, THE SPEAKER OF THE PARLIAMENT SHARIF HASSAN SHEIKH ADAM, THE LEADER OF HARAKAT AL-SHABAAB AL-MUJAHIDEEN AMIIR AHMED GODANE, AND THE UN SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR SOMALIA AUGUSTINE MAHIGA
DHAMBAAL FURAN EE KU WAJAHAN MUDANAYAASHA KALA AH: MADAXWEYNAHA SOOMAALIYA SHEIKH SHARIF SHEIKH AHMED, RAISUL-WASAARAHA ABDIWELI MOHAMED ALI, AFHAYEENKA BALAMAANKA SHARIF HASSAN SHEIKH ADAM, AMIIRKA XARAKAT AL SHABAB AL-MUJAAHIDIIN AHMED GODANE IYO WAKIILA QARAMADA MIDOOBEY EE SOOMAALIYA AUGUSTINE MAHIGA
Madanayaal, Walaalayaal
Soomaali Laba Malyuun ka badan oo 60-70% ay yihiin caruur iyo hooyooyin ayaa abaar iyo gaajo dartood halis ugu jira iney le’daan. Geeska Africa oo dhan ayey abaartani saameysaa sida Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda iyo Djibouti oo kulligood gurmadka iyo kaalmada addunweynaha u baahan. Waxase la isku raacay in Soomaaliya, gaar ahaan goboladeeda koonfureed, yihiin deegaanka ugu liita marka la barbar dhigo ummadahaas abbaaruhu ku habsadeen. Waxa taas ugu wacan ma aha in abaarteennu ka kulustahay kuwa kale ee waa dhibaatooyinka barbar socda ee ummadda saameeyey, sida  ammaan la’aanta iyo dagaalada iyo colaadda joogtada ah ee dalka ka ooggan. Colaaddasi waxay keentay bara-kicid dad badan oo hantidoodii iyo meheradohoodii was-soo-saar halkaas ku baabe’een, taasina ay cawaaqibkii abaaraha sii cusleysay. Dhanka kale ammaan la’aantu waxay keentay in Heya’dihii Caalamiga ahaa ee gurmadka diyaarka u ahaa, ay u bareeri waayeen khatartaas meesha ka ooggan, halkaasne ay ku hakatay kaalmadii ummaddaasi xaqa u lahayd; qaar heya’dahaas ka mid ahna waaba laga mamnuucay gurmadkaas, taasoo inta kalena baqdin dheeri ah sii gelinaysa.
Haddaba iyadoo aad maanta masuul ka tihiin ummaddaas tabaaleysan, berrina la-is-weyddiindoono dhimashadooda xaq-darrada ah, ayaan waxan go’aansaday inaan dhambaalkan idiin soo diro, anigoo ahaan jiray massul Somaaliyeed ee ka soo shaqeeyey caafimaadka dalka, hormuudna ka noqday kulliadda caafimaadka ee jaamicadda Ummadda, muddo dheerna u soo shaqeeyey Heyadda Caafimaadka Adduunka.
Arrinta keentay dhambaalkan, waa aqoonta dheeriga ah een u leeyahay abaabulidda gargaarada loo fidiyo ummadaha ay ku habsadaan aafooyinka dabiiciga ah iyo kuwa colaaduhu keenaan (natural and manmade disasters) iyo sida aan u hubo in badbaadada nolosha dadkaas ay ku xirantahay hadba sida gargaar bani-aadminimo loogu abaabulo, si karti lehne loo gaarsiiyo. Sidaa darteed manta badbaadinta ummaddaas tabaaleysan, Ilaah ka sokow, idinka ayaa masuul ka ah isu-duwidda badbaadinta caruurtaas iyo haweenkaas oo ah tirada ugu badan dadka tabaaleysan. Noloshoodu Ilaah ka sokow, IDINKA Dadaalkiinna iyo abaabulkiinna gurmad ayey ku xirantahay.  Si loo badbaadiyo ummaadaas waxa lagama maarmaan ah in tallaabooyinkan si degdeg ah loo hir-geliyo
1.      Ku dhawaaqid xabbad joojin iyo hakinta colaadda taagaan: In Dawladda Federaalka iyo Harakat Al-Shabab Al Mujahiddin ay ku dhawaaqaan saddex biload oo xabbad-joojin ah oo colaadaha taagaan oo dhan la hakiyo muddadaas, iyada oon lagu xirin wax shuruud ah sida ku xiridda xabbad joojintaas aqbalaadda qolada kale iyo ku dhawaaqiddooda. Taasi waxay suurta gelinaysaa in kaalmooyinka ummadda iyo kuwa haya’daha caalamiga ahiba si nabad ah loogu daad-gureeeyo, loona gaarsiiyo ummadda tabaaleysan,

2.      Hirgelinta Maamulka iyo Maareynta wanaagsan ee Gargaarka: Si loo hubiyo in gargaarka dantii laga lahaa uusan ka leexan, waa in maamulada masuulka ka ah deegaamada aaffadu sameysay ama dadka barakacay u soo qaxeen ay si xaq ah oo degdeg ah u fududeeyaan dhammaan hawlaha gargaarka ummadda tabaaleysanna iyo sidii loo gaarsiin lahaa

3.      Sameyn Guddiyo Sare ee Gargaar: Waa in Maamulka Dawladda Federaalka iyo Maamulka Xarakat Al-Shabab ay abuuraan Guddiyo Sare ee Gargaarka, loona sameeyo laamo uga hawl-gala degaamada gargaarka laga fulinayo. Xilka Guddiyaddaasi waa iney fududeeyaan hawlaha gargaarka, ilaaliyaan hantida garkaarka marka la safrinayo iyo marka ay maqaasiinnada ku jirtoba iyo iney hagaan heya’daha gargaarka, iyo isu-duwiddooda (coordination) kuna dadaalaan in aaney kaalmooyinku ugu wada-leexaan  degaaammo kooban, kuwo kale ee baahi qabana uga leexan, isla markaasna meesha mudnaanta gaarka ah u baahan la sheego lagana hawl-galo, iyo in wax kasta ee musuq ah lagala dagaalamo qaybinta gaargaarkaas

4.      Hawlgalka Heya’daha Caalamiga ah ee Gargaarka: Waa in la ilaaliyaa amniga shaqaalaha gargaarka caalamiga ah, loona fududeeyaa dhaqdhaqaaq kasta ee u suurta gelinaya iney u gurmadaan dadka tabaaleysan, meel kasta ay ku suganyihiin. Waa in maamulada degaamadaasi isku hawlaan isu-duwidda dadaalka gargaar ee heya’dahaasi wadaan, iyada oo lala kaashanayo Guddiga sare ee Gargaarka ee fududeynta hawlahaas loo xil-saaray, si loo gaaro yoolka gargaarka oo ah naf-kasta ee silicsan in la badbaadiyo, ummaddana inta ugu badan gargaarka la gaarsiiyo

5.      Dhisidda Koox Boolis ee si Gaar ah ugu Hawllan Arrimaha Gargaarka: Dawladda federaalka iyo Maamulka Al-Shabab waa iney degaamadooda ka abuuran Koox boolis ee illaalisa Amniga Gargaarka, ee si toos ah ula shaqeysa Guddiga Sare ee Gargaarka ee loo abuuray hawlgalkan. Kooxdaasi waxay masuul ka noqonaysaa badbaadinta gargaarka, ilaalinta safrintiisa, keydintiisa iyo qaybintiisa, iyaga oon gacan ku yeelandoonin  maamulka gargaarka. 

6.      Bilaabidda Gargaarka Qaybtiisa Dib-u-dhisiddaa: Inta badan marka laga baxo gargaarka qaybtiisa hore ee badbaadinta ah, ayaa loo gudbaa qaybta labaad ee u sahlaysa ummadan bara-kacday iney noloshoodii dib u dhisaan ilaa ay isku fillansho nololeed ka gaaraan, dibna ugu noqdaan meheradihii uu dakhli-nololeedku uga soo bixi-jiray. Waxa habboon in la soo dedejiyo gargaarkan heerka labaad ah, lana sameeyo baarisyo degdeg ah (rapid assessment) ee lagu ogaanayo baahida iyo mashaariicda la hawl-kelin karo, laguna dadaalo in dadku ayan ka daahin beerohoodii, iyo in loo abuuro hawlo iyo farsamooyin ay ku noolaan karaan. 

7.      In Nabadda La xoojiyo: Waa in lagu dadaalaa inaan wax colaad ah la abuurin inta gargaarkan la dhameys-tirayo oo ummadda taabaaleysan khatarta ay ku suganyihiin laga samata-bixinayo. Isla markaas waa in maamulada siyaasadeed ee dalka ka jira ee colaaddu dhex taal ay abuuraan golayaal lagu garramo, xalna loogu raadiyo burburka 20 jirsadey kana sii daraya. Iyadoo cidkasta ee nabad la rabta Soomaaliya lala kaashanayo. Waa in shirar laga aloosaa dalka gudihiisa, si khilaafaadka loo soo kobo, dabaddeedna xal loo dhanyhay loogu helo. Soomaalidu wada-garranka taariikh dheer ayey u leedahay. Khibraddaas soo jireenka ah maanta addunweynaha jaamicadihiisa sare ayaa kuwo u dhigma laga dhigaa oo laga bartaa garranka wanaagsan. Kuwaasi waxay ku qeexanyihiin murtida Somaalida, sida: Gartaada intaan geedka la geyn ayaa la naqdaa; Cadowgaa caana macaanbaa la siiyaa; waxaad rabti haddaad weydid, waxaad ka badin waydid ayaa la yeelaa; aan wada-hadallo waa aan-heshiinno;  Oodo dhacameed sidey u kala sarreeyaan ayaa look ala qaadaa iyo kuwo badan ee la mid ah. 

Ugu dambeyntii ha la ogaado, baaqani waa QAYLO_DHAAN. Meel Hoo u Baahan Hadal Wax kama Taro. Ilaahay waxan ka baryaynnaa inuu tubta toosan na solonsiiyo, kuwii isu naxaariistana naga dhigo. Fikradaha siyaasadeed ama diimeed ee la kala haysto, iyo khilaafaadka ummaddeenna dhextaal an dib-u-dhiganno. Gaajada iyo abaarta an u guntanno. Allow nagu guulee
Wa-billahi Towfiiq


Dr. Khalif Bile Mohamud M.D.; Ph.D.
Communicable Diseases Epidemiology,
Health Emergency Response and
Health Systems Specialist

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