Malaysia

Despite death, Mercy Malaysia says Somalia aid still on

By Lisa J. Ariffin and Mohamed Hosni Ibrahim
September 07, 2011

Members of al Shabaab ride in their pick-up trucks at Ala Yaasir camp outside Mogadishu, September 3, 2011. — Reuters picMembers of al Shabaab ride in their pick-up trucks at Ala Yaasir camp outside Mogadishu, September 3, 2011. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 — Humanitarian organisation Mercy Malaysia today said they will proceed with their aid mission to war-stricken Somalia, even after a local journalist was shot dead during a similar relief effort.

However, the group said they have yet to review safety procedures and will decide based on actual ground conditions there.

Last week, Bernama TV cameraman Noramfaizul Mohd Nor, who was part of a humanitarian mission to Somalia, was killed in a shooting incident in Mogadishu.

The incident occurred while he was travelling in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, escorted by a Somali armed forces truck during a mission organised by the Putera 1 Malaysia club.

“We will look into the viability of the existing humanitarian space with regards to the usage of personal protective equipment determined by the need and requirement of the organisation,” Mercy Malaysia president Datuk Dr Ahmad Faizal Mohd Perdaus said today.

“Security, in essence, is mainly based on adherence to the International Code of Conduct, which includes standard operating procedure (SOP) and security procedures,” he added.

Ahmad said that security for aid missions were put in place before the missions were deployed and were not uniform across different organisations.

“The use of personal protective equipment will be determined as per the needs or the organisation. For each organisation, the requirements and objectives differ. However, if not conducting the humanitarian mission in live action conflict, the use of protective equipment is not required,” he said.

Conceding that Somalia is one of the most difficult countries for the deployment of humanitarian aid missions, Ahmad nevertheless expressed confidence in the upcoming mission following the withdrawal of rebel movement Al Shabaab from the capital city of Mogadishu.

“We are constantly monitoring the security situation in Somalia. At the moment as a whole, the UN has not issued any drastic steps and changed the security level yet. International humanitarian organisations have not raised the security and threat level in Somalia. There is not call for UN or international expatriates to evacuate,” Ahmad said.

He added that the mission initially planned for September 10 will include experienced Mercy volunteers that will be provided with adequate provisions.

“RM2 million a year is [the] minimum for us to work effectively in Somalia. Mercy Malaysia in principal will concentrate on the health aspect and facilitate in food distribution,” Ahmad said.