International agency Oxfam is airlifting three cargos full of vital water supply and hygiene materials to Somalia’s capital Mogadishu today, as the aid community is scaling up its effort to bring relief to the drought-stricken country. The aid shipments are part of Oxfam’s efforts to control the outbreak of cholera and reduce public health risks in highly-populated camps.
The airlift will include water tanks and pipes to set up water points across the capital city as well as tons of soap bars and 12,000 jerry cans so people can carry and store water.
Oxfam partner Hijra which operates in Mogadishu and the outskirts of the Capital has seen an increase in cholera cases. Hijra staff reported that cases affected children and women are on the rise. The Somali group has started a prevention program that is reaching 20,000 people in 3 IDP camps in Mogadishu, distributing oral rehydration salts, doing radio and public announcements in camps themselves on hygiene practices as well as distributing soaps.
“Clean water and soap are vital to help prevent a public health crisis, as people weakened by hunger are particularly at risk of disease. With the recent cholera outbreak in the Mogadishu, this assistance will save lives. Despite the many challenges of operating in Somalia, Oxfam has years of experience working with partners there to reach people in need.” said Adan Kabelo, Associate Country Director for Oxfam in Somalia.
Oxfam partners operate all across the country, and are running the largest public health program in Somalia, providing clean water to 250,000 displaced Somalis in camps outside Mogadishu. Oxfam’s partner agencies also operate one of the largest therapeutic feeding programs for children and mothers, feeding 3,000 severely malnourished children every week.
Across the country, 3.7 million people—nearly half of the Somali population—are now in crisis, two-thirds of whom reside in the south. Oxfam aims to scale-up its programs to reach 1.4 million people within the next few months.
Oxfam has been working in Somalia for over 20 years. The agency, which operates in partnership with local aid organizations, has so far reach over 850,000 in South Somalia, including Mogadishu.