Last Updated: 08 November 2012

Casualties and Victim Assistance

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2011

2,785 mine/ERW casualties (941 killed; 1,711 injured; 133 unknown)

Casualties in 2011

146 (2010: 159)

2011 casualties by outcome

38 killed; 92 injured; 16 unknown (2010: 28 killed; 131 injured)

2011 casualties by device type

5 antipersonnel mine; 13 antivehicle mine; 110 other ERW; 2 unidentified mine type; 16 unknown device

At least 146 mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties were recorded in Somalia (excluding Somaliland) in 2011.[1] Of the casualties for whom the military/civilian status was known, 143 were civilians. Of the casualties for whom the age was known, 41% were children, including 42 boys and 13 girls. At least 16 casualties were women.[2]

The UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) casualty recording also found an additional 164 casualties of emplaced improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2011. It was not possible to adequately distinguish between attacks by command detonated IEDs and incidents involving victim activated IEDs, which are de facto landmines with this data.[3]

Of the total casualties for Somalia in 2011, the Puntland Mine Action Center (PMAC) recorded 35.[4] PMAC recorded 41 mine/ERW casualties for 2010.[5]

At least 159 mine/ERW casualties were recorded in Somalia (excluding Somaliland) in 2010.[6] The small difference between annual casualty statistics in 2010 and 2011 cannot be seen as an accurate indication of change. According to UNMAS, the significant underreporting of casualties and the absence of a comprehensive national casualty monitoring mechanism was one of the greatest challenges to reducing death and injury, because the lack of baseline data made the monitoring of trends impossible.[7]

The Monitor identified 2,785 mine/ERW casualties in Somalia (excluding Somaliland) between 1999 and the end of 2011. Of these, 941 people were killed, 1,711 were injured and state of the remaining 133 casualties (whether killed or not) was unknown.[8]

Victim Assistance

Somalia is known to have mine/ERW survivors, though the total number is unknown. It has a commitment to provide victim assistance as a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty, which entered into force for Somalia on 1 October 2012.

The Monitor identified at least 1,711 mine/ERW survivors by the end of 2011.

Assessing victim assistance needs

No specific survivor-needs assessment was reported in 2011. However, in Puntland, PMAC collected “victim data and mine/UXO accident reports” from various sources, including risk education (RE) teams, EOD teams, Regional Liaison Officers, hospitals and other government officials. The PMAC operations section regularly visited police stations and hospitals as follow-up. [9]

There was no specific victim assistance coordination in Somalia. Nor was there any available information about any relevant planning, focal point or survivor participation.

Victim assistance in 2011

Somalia lacked adequate qualified medical practitioners and rehabilitation services and facilities, as well as social inclusion programs for persons with disabilities. There was a lack of mobility and other assistive devices; locations where they were available were often difficult to access due to conflict and poverty. Persons with disabilities also lacked economic inclusion activities.[10]

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Ongoing and increased conflict in 2011 continued to erode the minimal health resources available. The number of war-wounded patients requiring treatment in hospitals in Mogadishu rose in 2011.[11] The ICRC supported hospitals assisted 5,400 weapon-wounded patients, which included 90 that were injured by mines or ERW.[12] Violence against health-care workers, health facilities and patients also posed a serious challenge to assistance activities.[13] The ICRC reported that two hospital staff had been killed in Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu due to “armed conflict taking place around and even inside hospitals.”[14] However, the independently run ambulance service in Mogadishu continued to operate despite the high risk to voluntary emergency personnel operating the eight available vehicles.[15]  

The ICRC continued to provide medical supplies, equipment, funds, staff training, and supervision, along with infrastructure maintenance, to the two hospitals in Mogadishu where most weapon-wounded casualties were treated: Keysaney (run by the Somali Red Crescent Society, SRCS) and Medina (community-run). In 2011, a new surgical operating theatre was constructed at Keysaney Hospital, which had been hit by artillery fire and damaged on numerous occasions. In January 2012, Keysaney was struck again by two mortar shells.[16] Four Somali doctors completed specialist surgical training courses in 2011, while others continued training. Senior medical staff from all over Somalia received training in war and trauma surgery from an ICRC surgical team which was based in Garowe, Puntland, for three months in 2011.[17]

PMAC reported frequent efforts to engage donors in responding to the basic needs of survivors by supporting victim assistance in the communities of the Puntland region. However, no donor funding was secured for the proposed project in 2011.[18]

The Norwegian Red Cross Society continued to provide support to the operations of the SRCS in Galkayo, which received additional technical support from the ICRC Special Fund for the Disabled (SFD). The production of prosthetic/orthotic services to beneficiaries at the Galkayo center in Puntland increased by 13% compared to 2010. The production of prosthetic/orthotic devices for beneficiaries at the SRCS rehabilitation center in Mogadishu increased by 24% in 2011 compared to 2010, continuing the increase over 2009 levels.[19] The ICRC also sponsored prosthetic/orthotic staff training in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.[20]

The ICRC supported livelihood-support projects for some 750,000 vulnerable people to allow them to produce their own food or generate an income in 2011.[21]

There is almost no psychosocial support in Somalia due to the impact of the ongoing conflict despite the significant need for such services.[22]

Both the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC) and the Puntland Charter prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities. The TFC gives the state responsibility for the health and welfare of persons with disabilities and the Puntland Charter protects the rights of persons with disabilities. However, the needs of most persons with disabilities were not addressed and discrimination was reported.[23]

There are no laws requiring access to buildings for persons with disabilities. In 2012, it was reported that Somalia did not have, and never had, accessible public services for persons with disabilities. Three-quarters of all public buildings in Somalia were not accessible for wheelchair users and there were no public transportation facilities with wheelchair access. Schools throughout the country did not accept the majority of children with disabilities as pupils.[24]

As of July 2012, Somalia had not signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


[1] Email from Tammy Orr, Programme Officer, UNMAS Somalia, 12 October 2012; PMAC, “PMAC 2011 Annual Report,” Garowe, January 2012, p. 3; and Monitor media scanning of Somalia Report for calendar year 2012,

[2] Of 122 casualties where the age was known were 58 children (64 were adults and 24 of unknown age); 3 child casualties were recorded where the sex was not known.

[3] Email from Tammy Orr, UNMAS Somalia, 12 October 2012. Due to the inability to differentiate victim-activated IED casualties, no emplaced IED casualties were included in the global casualty total for Somalia for 2011. Of note, in addition to emplaced IED incidents, UNMAS data also differentiated between vehicle- and person-borne IEDs.

[4] PMAC, “PMAC 2011 Annual Report,” Garowe, January 2012, p. 3. Another 29 IED incidents causing 43 casualties were also reported.

[5] PMAC, “Annual Report 2010,” 7 June 2011, p. 10.

[6] UNMAS reported details for the 159 casualties and also stated that there were “162 known victims” in 2010. UNMAS, “Annual Report 2010,” New York, September 2011, pp. 55–56. The UN also reported that, in total, 190 mine/ERW casualties were recorded in Somaliland, Puntland and south central Somalia in 2010 (154 casualties excluding casualties in Somaliland, as reported in the Landmine Monitor Report 2011). UN, “Somalia,”

[7] UNMAS, “Annual Report 2010,” New York, September 2011, pp. 55–56.

[8] See previous Monitor reports on Somalia,

[9] PMAC, “PMAC 2011 Annual Report,” Garowe, January 2012, p. 13.

[10] Ahmed Mohamed, “Al-Shabaab Recruiting Disabled Somalis: Physical and Mentally Challenged Citizens Used as Fighters, Spies,” Somalia Report, 19 April 2012,

[11] ICRC, “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, May 2012, p. 6.

[12] Ibid., p.151.

[13] ICRC, “Somalia: twenty years of war surgery at Mogadishu's Keysaney Hospital,” 7 June 2012,

[14] ICRC, “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, May 2012, p. 153.

[15] Mahmoud Mohamed, “Paramedics risk their lives to save others in Mogadishu,” 15 March 2012,

[16] ICRC, “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, May 2012, p. 153; and ICRC, “Somalia: twenty years of war surgery at Mogadishu's Keysaney Hospital,” 7 June 2012,

[17] ICRC, “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, May 2012, p. 153.

[18] PMAC, “PMAC 2011 Annual Report,” Garowe, January 2012, p. 13.

[19] ICRC SFD, “Annual Report 2010,” Geneva, June 2011, p. 26.

[20] ICRC SFD, “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, May 2012, p. 23; and ICRC, “Annual Report 2010,” Geneva, May 2011, p. 174.

[21] ICRC, “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, May 2012, p. 152.

[22] Joe DeCapua, “Somalia Conflict takes Toll on Civilian Mental Health,” Voice of America, 4 February 2011,

[23] US Department of State, “2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Somalia,” Washington, DC, 24 May 2012.

[24] Somali Diaspora Disability Forum (SDDF), “An open letter to President Hassan: The New Government and Disability subject in Somalia - A way ahead,” 29 September 2012,