Nairobi-(P-today)- More than 75,000 people have fled their homes and 18 have been killed during three weeks of clashes in Somalia, the United Nations said on Monday, warning that women and children sleeping in the open will suffer as the rainy season looms.
Clashes erupted on Saturday and Monday between forces loyal to the two semi-autonomous regions of Puntland and Galmudug in the town of Galkayo, it said.
“The fear that the conflict may last longer than anticipated is driving more people out of their homes,” the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in an update.
Most of the displaced are women, children and the elderly who were already living in camps and have now fled for a second time to the outskirts of town, it said.
“The onset of the rainy season is likely to affect the displaced especially those spending nights in the open,” it said.
Somalis hope that the Dehr rains, which fall between October and January, will alleviate drought which has left five million people short of food.
Galkayo, which is the capital of the north-central Mudug region of Somalia, is divided between clan militias loyal to the two regions.
There are 1.1 million displaced people in Somalia, around one in ten people, often living in dire conditions.