Charity Home > SOS News > Somalia Update: Evacuations in Mogadishu

Somalia Update: Evacuations in Mogadishu


Continued fighting in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, which has seen more than 250 deaths in the past week, stepped up a gear overnight as Ethiopian tanks rolled into the city.

The conflict between insurgent clans and Ethiopian and African Union-backed government has intensified in recent days, with mortars, grenades and heavy gunfire in much of the central area of the city.

The situation is becoming increasingly precarious for civilians, and many are fleeing the capital despite the difficult conditions they are forced to live in. In the city, dead bodies are left to decay on the streets, since no-one is prepared to risk their lives to move them.

SOS Children’s Village Mogadishu has been caught in cross-fire since the recent fighting intensified, with a shell landing in the village’s grounds on Sunday. The village director took the decision yesterday to evacuate all mothers and children to safety outside the town.

Despite the difficulties, all the SOS families have remained together, to help the children overcome the trauma they have experienced in recent days. The children have been moved to family homes of relatives and friends in combat free zones and the teenagers from the SOS Youth Home, together with the youth leaders, have also moved into temporary accommodation in safe areas. All are in regular contact with the village director and other non-pastoral staff, who remain in the village, who in turn are communicating hourly with SOS Children’s regional office in Kenya.

The SOS school and nursery have been closed for three weeks because of the school holidays, so fortunately teachers and pupils are not in the area.

War wounded have, however, been flooding into the SOS Hospital, which despite being in the direct line of fighting and staff numbers being severely reduced, continues to offer medical support.

SOS Regional Director Wilhelm Huber emphasized that the SOS families will return to the village when the situation is more secure. "We believe that the current security situation surrounding our village is only short-term," he said. "We hope that our families will be able to return to their homes soon. The families who are now sheltering us may someday become our guests if the scene of fighting ever shifts from our area to theirs." He concluded, "All of our co-workers, children and youth are to be commended for their bravery".

The situation in Mogadishu is being monitored constantly and decisions will be taken jointly by co-workers on the ground and in the regional office.

Relevant Countries: Somalia.

Schools Wikipedia Return to Schools Wikipedia Home page