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Improving living conditions for prolonged displaced populations in their current locations in Somalia
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Project description

The number of newly displaced people increased dramatically in 2008 mainly due to the renewed conflict in South/Central Somalia. IDPs are exposed to extreme weather, physical attacks, and banditry. Girls and women are at risk of physical and domestic violence, including rape (raising the risk of HIV), when they relieve themselves at night or look for firewood far from the settlements. Unexploded ordnance and explosive remnants of war (UXO/ERW) have also become a risk in and around IDP settlements in South/Central Somalia. IDPs live together with other vulnerable communities (urban poor, returnees and migrants) in settlements that in most instances are unplanned and overcrowded, with minimal availability of basic amenities and inadequate access to clean water and sanitary facilities. IDP shelters usually consist of simple structures made of non-durable materials (e.g. wooden sticks, plastic sheeting, pieces of cloth and cardboard) that fail to provide adequate shelter, a factor that predisposes families to a range of communicable diseases, including respiratory tract infections, and increases mortality due to poor household hygiene conditions. Women, children and the elderly suffer the most as a result of lack of proper shelter. The combination of congested settlements, unsuitable and highly inflammable materials, high temperatures and strong seasonal winds in some areas enhance the risks of fires, leaving many families homeless yet again. The situation of the newly displaced is even more appalling as they do not have sufficient shelter, clothing, and blankets. In addition to difficulties in obtaining adequate shelter, access to land isanother of the main problems for IDPs who are either denied a place to settle, or forced to pay disproportionably high rents to landlords without being allowed to install basic services or upgrade their shelter. In addition, they are often victims of random and sudden evictions by people who own the land. IDPs also depend on natural resources for their shelter and fuel, a dependence often resulting in a severe degradation of the natural environment.
Location: Bari Region, Bossaso (Puntland); Middle Shabelle Region, Afgooye, Bay Region, Bossaso, Middle Shabelle Region, Jowhar, Hiraan Region, Beletweyne Hargeisa
- Regional Office for Arab States
Partner: Water & Sanitation: UNICEF / Danish Refugee Council; Basic services: UNICEF / Norwegian Refugee Council; Protection: UNHCR; Local Authorities. Local NGOs, and Private Sector
- Slum / human settlements upgrading
- Water Sanitation and Infrastructure
Budget: USD 10,630,000

Focus Area(s)

- FA2: Promotion of participatory urban planning, management and governance
- FA3: Promote pro-poor land and housing
- FA4: Environmentally sound basic urban infrastructure and services


The strategy of the Shelter Cluster is based on the most likely scenario, and keeps in mind regional differences as well as the UNTP and the Joint UN IDP Strategy. Somalia, as a complex and protracted emergency, requires a longer term approach that goes beyond the initial rapid, emergency response and contingency planning, and wherever possible promotes early recovery and durable shelter solutions linked to livelihood opportunities. All actions have a strong protection focus. Shelter solutions cannot be dissociated from the broader settlement conditions and must be clearly linked and integrated with other clusters (for example, Water and Sanitation and Protection). Adequate attention should be given to integrating the logistic perspective into project planning and implementation. On a conceptual basis, the shelter interventions are divided into three categories:

  • emergency assistance for the newly displaced;
  • transitional solutions for the improvement of the living conditions for the protracted displaced;
  • provision of durable solutions for the early recovery of the displaced.

These approaches will be adopted in the three regions, where conditions apply. In South/Central, Somalia agencies will focus on covering emergency shelter needs, while upgrading the conditions in temporary settlements. Regional strategies should look at the possibility of durable solutions in selected locations. In Puntland and Somaliland, the focus will be mainly on upgrading temporary settlements and on up-scaling durable solutions. Pockets of new displacement are emerging and need to be targeted by emergency interventions. The Shelter Response will also work with authorities and other relevant stakeholders on tenure options for IDPs, including advocacy campaigns on the responsibilities of the authorities, the obligations of the landlords (e.g. basic services on rented land), and the rights of the displaced to housing, land, and property. Temporary and durable shelter interventions will be in line with larger urban planning exercises for the cities, setting the ground for sustainable urban growth and slum prevention, and for the full integration of IDPs.


  • Provide improved access to water and sanitation facilities, and (where possible) more secure tenure arrangements.
  • Provide improved temporary shelter and settlements solutions for the displaced in protracted emergency situation.
  • Increase protection from physical attacks and SBGV. Mitigate the impact of extreme weather and degraded household environment on health conditions, especially for women, children and elder
Target group
  • 300,000 displaced and vulnerable households in different locations (approximately 1,800,000 displaced people, of whom 720,000 are women and 900,000 are children).in the targeted areas


If you may be interested in funding this project, please contact us: info.rmu@unhabitat.org
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