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Healthcare Crisis Deepens in Somaliland Amid Ongoing Conflict | Features

Hospitals in the conflict-ridden city of Las Anod in Somaliland are struggling to maintain lifesaving supplies as the eight-month-long conflict between armed forces of Somaliland and local militias continues to escalate. Despite the conflict being reduced to a deadlock, the Somaliland army has indiscriminately targeted civilian areas of Las Anod with mortars and artillery. This has led to international organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) withdrawing its support from the Las Anod General Hospital due to safety concerns. The hospital has been targeted multiple , resulting in damage to the facility and injuries to staff.

The conflict began as protests against Somaliland’s control of Las Anod evolved into an movement by the local Dhulbahante clan. The city is claimed by both Somaliland and the Dhulbahante clan, creating tensions and . The targeted and destruction of infrastructure have severely affected the ability of hospitals to provide medical care to those in need. The Las Anod General Hospital, the only public hospital in the city, serves as a hub for treating casualties and providing public health services.

MSF’s withdrawal means a loss of 13 staff members and funding for medical supplies. The hospital’s director expressed concerns about the dwindling supply of and for patients, especially with the anticipation of increased fighting and more casualties. The ongoing conflict has also affected the city’s economy, making it difficult to transport essential supplies.

In response to the withdrawal of international aid, local hospitals in Las Anod have been relying on fundraising efforts to stock their shelves with necessary supplies. Donations from both within Somalia and from the have been crucial. However, there have been concerns about donor fatigue and a decrease in donations after eight months of . The needs of the largest hospital in the city will require a significant increase in resources to support those injured and recovering.

MSF plans to shift its support to Kalabaydh, a nearby city where thousands of displaced residents from Las Anod are struggling to access basic necessities such as food, water, and medical attention. The influx of new residents has overwhelmed the local clinic, leading MSF to provide emergency healthcare and maternal support to the displaced population.

The conflict in Las Anod has been condemned by the United Nations Security Council, and Amnesty International has called for an investigation into the targeted shelling of the hospital and civilian areas. However, neither the government of Somalia nor international actors have taken significant steps to intervene in the conflict.

The enduring victims of the conflict are the civilians, particularly vulnerable populations like women and children. With the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa, the lack of adequate medical care exacerbates an already dire situation. Local volunteers and aid organizations are doing their best to provide assistance, but without sustained support and intervention, the situation remains critical.

The nascent state of SSC-Khaatumo, which claims Las Anod as its capital, faces significant challenges in providing essential services and financing hospitals due to the besieged city’s limited resources and infrastructure. Volunteers are working tirelessly, but they cannot sustain the burden indefinitely. Urgent action and support are needed to prevent further suffering and loss of life in Las Anod.

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