Somalia: MSF closes two major medical centers


Food is distributed by the Somali Relief, Rehabilitation Development Organization (SORRDO) at a site in Mogadishu on December 13, 2011. While three areas of Somalia are no longer considered to be famine zones, 250,000 people in the country still face imminent starvation and millions more still need urgent relief. The capital, Mogadishu, remains classified as a famine zone by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia (FSNAU).


Nichole Sobecki

Medecins Sans Frontieres has closed two of the largest medical centers Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, the BBC reported.

The charity organization decided to close the doors of the centers after two MSF workers were killed on Dec. 29. An Indonesian doctor and a Belgian emergency worker were shot dead by a former local employee who was arrested shortly after, Reuters reported.

Read more at GlobalPost: Two MSF workers shot dead in Somalia

"It is hard to close health services in a location where the presence of our medical teams is genuinely life-saving every day," Christopher Stokes, MSF's general director, said in a statement, Reuters reported. "But the brutal assassination of our colleagues in Hodan (district) makes it impossible for us to continue working in this district of Mogadishu."

The two facilities to be closed each hold 120 beds and treat malnutrition, measles and cholera, the Associated Press reported. An epidemic of measles has hit Mogadishu, which rapidly kills undernourished children. Without these two centers assistance being provided by MSF in Mogadishu will be cut in half, although the group will still provide medical care in other parts of the capital.

Read more at GlobalPost: Somalia: MSF suspends campaign due to fighting

Somalia has been suffering from its worst drought in over 60 years, causing many Somalis to flee to rural areas controlled by the Islamist group, Al Shabaab, which has banned Western aid agencies from helping in its territory, the BBC reported. Thousands have flocked to the city since the United Nations declared it to be a famine state six months ago.

Somalia is considered to be one of the most dangerous areas for aid workers to be located. The attack on the two MSF workers occurred in a busy part of the capital, under control of both the government and African Union troops, Reuters reported. Following the shooting, MSF withdrew all of its non-Somali staff from the facility where the attack took place.

Read more at GlobalPost: Somalia famine: "Tens of thousands have died," UN says