The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Saturday said it is deeply concerned about the impact that COVID-19 could have on Somalian communities weakened by violence and conflict.
Somalia is at a critical juncture where immediate action can still curb the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, ICRC said in a statement.
Somalia has seven confirmed COVID-19 cases so far, with no deaths, and one recovery, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
“Somalia is at a crossroads, where we can rapidly scale up to get information and resources out to communities and health care facilities against COVID-19, or move too slowly and never catch up,” said Juerg Eglin, ICRC’s head of delegation for Somalia.
“Speed is critical, and we are working with our colleagues at the Somali Red Crescent to fight COVID-19 from fully taking hold,” Eglin added.
While COVID-19 poses an invisible threat to Somalia, the conflict has not stopped, and still drives displacement and suffering.
Recent clashes in Janaale, Lower Shabelle region, have affected over 20,000 people, with an estimated 8,000 people displaced from their homes to Marka, Afgooye, Shalanbood and Mogadishu, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Somalia, located in the Horn of Africa and bordering Ethiopia to the west and Gulf of Aden to the north, has witnessed multiple terror attacks over the past two decades.
Somali-based al Qaeda affiliated group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for most of the deadly suicide attacks.