Four decades of conflict have left Somalia littered with landmines, cluster munitions and other remnants of war. The presence of landmines and unexploded bombs remaining in the ground is a major obstacle to the consolidation of peace and reduction of poverty, as the land must go unused. In addition, many people in Somalia have private stockpiles of weapons and ammunition. Conflict recovery is made more difficult by an ongoing famine that was officially declared in parts of southern Somalia in July 2011, while much of the rest of the country has been affected by severe drought. The World Food Programme warns that the food crisis in Somalia might become a permanent problem. While communities previously had the relative luxury of several years of regular rainfall to recover from the occasional year of drought, they now have to live in an almost constant state of food insecurity due to a lack of water.
Act for Peace’s partners were providing humanitarian assistance to displaced people in Somalia since before the 2011 famine hit and increased their work afterwards. They have worked to provide emergency food, water, shelter, psychosocial support and post crisis livelihood assistance for people most affected in the Gedo region of southern Somalia and internally displaced people in Mogadishu. While Al-Shabaab, which is aligned with Al-Qaeda and controls much of southern Somalia, has prevented some aid agencies from delivering urgent aid in the region, our work through local partners allowed our aid to reach those that most needed it.
Act for Peace has also supported the work of our partner, the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) in central and northern Somalia. Mine Risk Education educates communities about the dangers posed by remnants of conflict, delivering tailored safety messages to those most under threat. Work also included training local Somalis and their police on the disposal of explosive ordnance freeing the land to allow socio-economic developments. MAG successfully cleared 125,240 square metres of land and destroyed 5,722 weapons in 2010. MAG delivers risk education to communities so that they can better identify unexploded material and know who to notify.