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Helping internally displaced persons in Somalia

Providing healthcare is one of the main ways to help the internally displaced.

Providing healthcare is one of the main ways to help the internally displaced., © IDMC

27.05.2020 - Article

In Somalia, the Federal Foreign Office supports the internally displaced and host communities and is helping to improve the provision of healthcare.

The number of people who are internally displaced around the world currently stands at more than 50 million. These are persons who have been uprooted in their own country. In Somalia, the Federal Foreign Office supports the internally displaced and host communities and is helping to improve the provision of healthcare.

Somalia – 2.7 million internally displaced persons

In Somalia, 2.7 million people are considered internally displaced – meaning they are transient within the borders of their home country. The causes range from drought, flooding, violent conflicts and terrorism to forced displacement. Most displaced persons seek protection in urban regions, placing more strain on already weak structures in the areas of healthcare, water and sanitation.

Strengthening the local provision of healthcare

The Federal Foreign Office is partnering with action medeor in Somalia.
The Federal Foreign Office is partnering with action medeor in Somalia.© IDMC

The Federal Foreign Office is helping both the internally displaced and host communities with humanitarian and stabilisation assistance. It is also working at international level to improve care for the internally displaced. In 2019 Germany made available 76 million euro for humanitarian relief operations in Somalia.

Healthcare support is going to, among others, the NGO action medeor. The aim is to enable provision of healthcare at no cost in the urban area of Mogadishu, with a focus on health services for mothers and children. To achieve this, aid is being provided to one hospital, one healthcare facility and one mobile clinic with community health assistants, thus enabling provision of comprehensive medical care.

50.8 million internally displaced persons worldwide

Around the world, it is estimated that there are 50.8 million people who are on the run in their own country after having fled conflicts, violence or natural disasters. The internally displaced thereby make up one of the largest groups of people in need of protection. The majority of these, 45.7 million, are victims of war and violence, 5.1 million of natural disasters. Current data are contained in the annual Global Report on Internal Displacement of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), which the Centre has compiled with support from Germany.

Humanitarian assistance for the internally displaced: a special challenge for aid workers

Responsibility for the protection and care of internally displaced lies with the government of the country of which the affected persons are nationals. The Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement that were published in 1998 by the United Nations describe how internally displaced persons should be protected, taking into account fundamental human rights. For cases in which the competent government does not wish to protect displaced persons within its national borders, for example due to politically motivated displacement, or when it cannot do so because its national systems are overburdened, humanitarian assistance is called for.

Humanitarian aid for the internally displaced is, however, always particularly challenging, among other things because internal displacement is usually a politically sensitive topic and the internally displaced often remain close to hostilities. Moreover, many internally displaced persons are members of ethnic minorities. Therefore, they are at greater risk of forced displacement and among the most vulnerable sections of the population.

A wide range of partners for humanitarian assistance efforts

To provide humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced, the Federal Foreign Office works with a wide range of partners. These include UN organisations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and German and international humanitarian NGOs. Germany supports national NGOs through Country-based Pooled Funds (CBPFs).

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