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Dud shells threaten Somali hospital
Sun, 17 Apr 2011 00:56:23 GMT
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A father stands by his son, who was injured during fighting, at Medina Hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, Monday, Jan. 31, 2011.
The largest healthcare facility in the Somali capital Mogadishu is in serious danger since shells that hit it several days ago have still not been defused.

The 11 shells that hit Medina Hospital without exploding have been collected and stored, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported on Friday.

"We are concerned about the patients and staff at Medina. These unexploded shells could cause death or injury, and they may well prevent people from getting lifesaving care," said Olivier Humbert-Droz, the deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Somalia. "Endangering this vital medical facility is totally unacceptable."

Medina Hospital is one of only two referral hospitals that remain in operation in conflict-plagued Somalia.

The ICRC supplies the hospital with surgical equipment and medicines, pays for running costs such as salaries and fuel purchases, and also helps to repair and upgrade facilities where necessary.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Over the past two decades, up to one million people have lost their lives in the fighting between rival factions and due to famine and disease.

There are more than 1.4 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Somalia, and over 300,000 IDPs are sheltering in Mogadishu alone.

Most of the displaced live in poor and degrading conditions on makeshift sites in southern and central Somalia, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

MP/AGB/HGL
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