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The patients who line up outside the African Union force’s outpatient clinic used to come with gunshot and bomb-blast wounds. Today their medical problems are more in line with a regular metropolis - infections and traffic accident injuries, said Dr. Leonard Ddungu of the Ugandan military.

Malnutrition rates are down from last year, when much of Somalia suffered from famine.

Justin Brady, the head of the Somalia unit of the U. N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, is the first chief of any U.N. agency to be based in Mogadishu since international staff left in 1995.

Last week, he visited a sprawling refugee camp where more than 100,000 Somalis live in makeshift tents. One refugee told Mr. Brady: “You come here to do nothing.”

Being on the ground makes a difference, Mr. Brady said.

“If you fly back to Nairobi, it’s easy to forget. … It’s much more in your face here that we have to get something done,” he said. “There’s a demand from Somalis to be here.”

More U.N. staff will arrive in coming weeks. The challenges of carrying out their work remain huge. No area of the city is rated lower than “high risk” by the U.N., so U.N. staff will have to travel in military convoys.