At least 6,000 families have fled southern and central towns weeks after government forces backed by 22,000 African Union soldiers launched a nationwide offensive against al-Shabab.
The United Nations estimates that three million people live in the districts and regions undergoing the military offensive. Troops have seized six new towns in regions of Bay, Bakool, Hiraan and Gedo.
Humanitarian access remains a major challenge due to the volatile security. Shelter, water, food, and health services remain as the immediate needs for the thousands of displaced people.
According to the U-N, 1,700 displaced people fled from Diinsoor in Bay and Hudur in Bakool in February. An additional 4,300 displaced people fled from Baidoa. AMISOM, the African Union force in the country says it has played its part. The spokesman for the AU missions says its time aid for agencies start trickling aid to the affected families.
The movement of forces on the ground is expected to increase the displacement movement out of the areas considered as hot spots. This will further worsen the country’s humanitarian crisis. The new offensive has so far seen the allied forces capture six major towns to the south and central regions of the country. With a looming humanitarian crisis, the main challenge now lies in assisting the thousands of families caught up in the renewed military operations.