Relative calm has returned to Gaalkacyo after five weeks of fighting but tension remains high with sporadic fighting reported. On 6 November, fierce fighting left 22 people dead and 97 others injured and on 8 November, one civilian was reportedly killed following an exchange of fire, according to health officials. The warring parties continue to maintain their defensive positions. Humanitarian partners estimate that nearly 90,000 people remain displaced due to increased tensions and the recurrent clashes between forces allied to Galmudug and Puntland administrations.
Health officials estimated that 45 people have been killed and 162 injured since 7 October.
Civilians make up 25 per cent of the casualties. The disruption to schooling has affected over 20,000 learners for the fifth week. All the internally displaced persons (IDPs) settlements in eight locations in north Gaalkacyo and 13 in south Gaalkyco remain vacated. Some 40,000 displaced people have faced secondary displacement. According to UNFPA figures, Gaalkacyo has a population of 270,000 people. Clashes have continued despite a ceasefire agreement signed on 1 November, in Abu Dhabi by Galmudug and Puntland administrations. On 7 November, another round of peace talks on the Gaalkacyo conflict was held in Bosasso during which the warring parties were urged to implement the ceasefire agreement.
Humanitarian impact and needs
Nearly 90,000 people remain displaced as a result of the fighting in Gaalkacyo. Of this, over 40,000 are facing secondary displacement. The conflict has disrupted the livelihoods of people who were already displaced and vulnerable. Most of the displaced people fled to distant villages and struggle to get to continue their livelihoods. On 7 November, health partners reported 69 suspected AWD/cholera cases over the past four weeks from Bandiiredley, Docol, Galinsoor, Wargalo and Xaar-xaarka villages near south Gaalkacyo.
The cases have been treated in health facilities. There are no proper sanitation facilities and most people are practicing open defecation.
To date, no deaths have been reported. The affected villages are among those hosting thousands of people displaced by the conflict. In south and north Gaalkacyo, 13 and eight IDP settlements remain vacated, respectively.
The movement of humanitarian partners to and from south and north Gaalkacyo has also been disrupted. Commercial activities between the two sides of Gaalkacyo are limited due to security concerns.
Humanitarian partners, in collaboration with the authorities, continue to respond to the needs of conflict-affected people with food, health, non-food items (NFIs), nutrition, and WASH assistance and related interventions. Already, partners have commenced unconditional cash transfer assistance targeting nearly 14,000 people.
Humanitarian partners have also assisted 60,000 people with food and NFIs. Food security and livelihood partners will assist 36,000 people with food rations for two months. An additional 27,000 people will benefit from NFIs. Shelter partners will also distribute 1,000 solar lamps and 500 plastic sheets to affected people from both sides. Galmudug authorities are planning to distribute 800 metric tons of assorted food stuffs to displaced people in south Gaalkacyo.
WASH partners continue to respond and have scaled up efforts to assist some 60,000 people with hygiene kits, aqua tabs and hygiene promotion activities and campaigns to minimize the impact of water borne diseases like AWD/cholera. WASH Cluster partners are distributing over 30,000 litres of water daily to displaced people in settlements and villages in the outskirts of south Gaalkacyo. Health and nutrition partners have also scaled up their services, reaching an estimated 5,000 people daily. These include provision of ringer lactate, trauma A and B emergency kits and inter-agency emergency health Kit which covers for 10 000 people for three months and diarrhea kit Authorities have doubled patrols in areas where displaced people are residing to secure their safety.
Protection partners are raising awareness on sexual and gender based violence among the displaced.
There are three UN organizations, 14 international NGOs and 27 active national NGOs with operational presence in Gaalkacyo. OCHA continues to coordinate response, including leading inter-agency and inter-cluster meetings. The town is accessible both by air and road.