Surviving in Somalia’s Displacement Camps

Humanitarian Assistance Action Against Hunger

Families living in south-central Somalia have endured political instability, violence and cycles of drought for 20 years, struggling to survive while their basic human rights are denied. So far, the international community and the various Somali authorities have not fulfilled their responsibilities to this desperately vulnerable population – especially women and children.

Over the past 20 years, we’ve worked in Somalia without interruption to help families through these difficult times and provide their children with healthier futures.


We call upon the international community and all parties to the conflict to:

Protect internally displaced people

The safety, dignity and basic human rights of the 1.1 million people displaced inside Somalia urgently need to be protected.

“Emergency humanitarian aid must continue and be accompanied by longer-term support that gives people the means to not only survive but make a living,” said Isabelle Roubeix, Action Against Hunger’s regional director of operations for East Africa.

For many, prospects for durable solutions remain remote. Continued insecurity means most cannot return home. Many are being expelled from one camp, only to find themselves facing the same dire conditions at another. These evictions create more vulnerability and violate both their human rights and their rights as displaced people. Without the consent of those displaced, forced evictions must stop and the displaced be relocated to a suitable location with basic services available.

“Unless basic services are available and functioning in the place of return, the expulsion of displaced and refugee populations, such as the 332,000 Somalis living in Kenya’s Dadaab camp, is not an option,” said Roubeix.

Guarantee humanitarian assistance and access to rural areas

Humanitarian assistance is needed in rural areas that are still largely inaccessible to humanitarian organisations in south-central Somalia.

In addition, regulations put in place by a number of donors related to the fight against terrorism pose a legal risk for organisations working in areas controlled by groups defined as “terrorists “by the international community. These regulations compromise the impartiality of humanitarian organisations and represent a major obstacle in accessing people in rural areas.

All parties to the conflict in Somalia must respect the right of populations to basic services and allow humanitarian workers access to rural areas.

Stop the politicisation of aid

For years, humanitarian assistance in Somalia has been highly politicised by all parties to the conflict. Aid has been used as a political lever to favour certain groups and access to basic civilian needs, such as food, has been used as a war tactic. It is essential that humanitarian assistance is de-politicised and the lives of civilians protected.

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Fatuma Ibrahim Safia

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