Internally displaced people at Baraak Iyaash IDP camp in Baidoa, Somalia. Their most urgent needs are water and food.Photo: Nashon Tado/NRC

Intensified fighting forces over 10,000 people to flee in Somalia

Published 27. Nov 2017|Edited 26. Nov 2017
Aerial bombardment and ground fighting in Somalia’s Middle and Lower Shabelle regions this month have forced over 10,000 people to flee for their lives.

“We’re seeing a spike in families fleeing fighting that are arriving in overcrowded camps in Mogadishu. The camps are already overfilled with drought-stricken people, barely surviving in flimsy shelters,” said the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Country Director in Somalia, Victor Moses.

“The double shock to people fleeing both conflict and drought means that they have to endure multiple crises at once, and this can push them over the brink.”

Tensions in Bal’ad and Afgooye districts exploded into open conflict in November. Additionally according to UNHCR, an alarming increase of extortion, torture, sexual abuse and movement restrictions has been reported at road blocks and checkpoints that were set up due to the rise in conflict. Many families have fled during breaks in the fighting, eventually making their way to the capital.

“The Norwegian Refugee Council is extremely concerned about the humanitarian impact of the fighting and aerial bombardment, as it’s happening when needs are already critically high. Aid is reaching many Somalis in the camps around Mogadishu, but not everyone, especially these families fleeing recent fighting. Newly arrived families urgently need shelter, food and water.”

Over one million people have been internally displaced in Somalia since January, mainly due to drought, but also because of conflict, insecurity and flooding. The crisis has spiralled downward during the course of the year. Half the population, over 6.7 million people, now need humanitarian assistance, up from 6.2 million earlier this year.

Photos and stories from Somalia are available here.

Facts and figures

Facts about the humanitarian situation in Somalia

  • Over 10,000 Somalis were reported displaced due to conflict in Middle and Lower Shabelle regions of Somalia so far in November, according to the UNHCR led Protection & Return Monitoring Network (PRMN), of which NRC is a member.
  • Over 1 million people have been internally displaced due to the drought and conflict this year, according to the PRMN.
  • Another 1 million people are living as refugees outside of Somalia.
  • Over 6.7 million people, more than half the population, need humanitarian assistance.
  • Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world. 43 per cent of the population lives on less than US$1 per day. Life expectancy is just 51 years.


Facts about NRC in Somalia

  • NRC supports programmes for families affected by drought and conflict in several regions of Somalia, including Mogadishu. Programmes include food security, livelihoods, water, sanitation, hygiene, shelter, education and legal assistance.
  • NRC has been working in Somalia since 2004. For more information on our work in the country, go to
  • Donors for NRC’s drought relief programmes in Somalia include DFID, EU Humanitarian Aid, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, OCHA – Somalia Humanitarian Fund, SIDA, UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP.