Somalia: Interview with the supervisor of the inpatient and outpatient departments of MSF

Abdi Osman ISSA, supervisor of the inpatient and outpatient departments at MSF’s hospital in Marere, southern Somalia:

I can tell you that I have never seen a situation like this in all the years I have been working with MSF. Not only are we seeing malnourished children, we are also seeing adults with malnutrition. The adults who come to us are clearly, visibly malnourished – so you can just imagine what the children look like.

The numbers have shot up. In some cases they have doubled, in others tripled. Mostly it’s children who account for this rise, and right now we are feeding and treating around 700 malnourished children. To help ease the situation, we are trying to reach them in their towns and villages, and are making frequent visits to Jilib, 18 km away, Kaaytey, which is 60 km away, and Osman Moto.

In the towns and outlying villages, the situation is bad – really bad. Everyone who was able to leave has left, but the majority of people had no choice and are stuck there. There just aren’t words to describe the dreadfulness of their situation.

The situation is dire even with MSF’s presence, so you can imagine what it would be like if MSF wasn’t here. There are no other organisations here to help. Without MSF, these children would have died, it’s as simple as that.