News / Africa

Aid Slow to Reach Somali Region Free of al-Shabab

Surgeons-in-training close an incision in a new operating theater, Ras Kamboni, Somalia, July 6, 2012. (VOA - R. Gogineni) Surgeons-in-training close an incision in a new operating theater, Ras Kamboni, Somalia, July 6, 2012. (VOA - R. Gogineni)
x
Surgeons-in-training close an incision in a new operating theater, Ras Kamboni, Somalia, July 6, 2012. (VOA - R. Gogineni)
Surgeons-in-training close an incision in a new operating theater, Ras Kamboni, Somalia, July 6, 2012. (VOA - R. Gogineni)
Roopa Gogineni
RAS KAMBONI — In this Somali seaside village, the former headquarters of insurgent group al-Shabab is being converted into a hospital.

Last October, the Kenyan military and a regional militia cleared the village of the militants. But, despite the stability, humanitarian aid has been slow to arrive.
 
Three-year-old Hodan arrived with her grandparents the afternoon the hospital operating room opened. They traveled from Bur Gabo, a town 60 kilometers north of Ras Kamboni.
 
Small towns such as Ras Kamboni in the Lower Juba region of Somalia have had almost no access to clean water, education or health care for over two decades.    
 
Last week, the first international assistance finally arrived. Dr. Omar Saleh, a surgeon and the humanitarian action coordinator with the World Health Organization-Somalia, led a mission to establish an operating room and train local health workers.
 
A nurse prepares the operating table for surgery, Ras Kamboni, Somalia, July 6, 2012. (VOA - R. Gogineni)A nurse prepares the operating table for surgery, Ras Kamboni, Somalia, July 6, 2012. (VOA - R. Gogineni)
x
A nurse prepares the operating table for surgery, Ras Kamboni, Somalia, July 6, 2012. (VOA - R. Gogineni)
A nurse prepares the operating table for surgery, Ras Kamboni, Somalia, July 6, 2012. (VOA - R. Gogineni)
Hodan suffered a congenital anomaly that would eventually affect her fertility. Dr. Omar successfully performed corrective surgery.
 
Hodan’s grandfather is grateful. He said,"It was very difficult for us to go to Kismayo, which is very far from us, so that now this clinic has opened in our area, we have already noticed the benefits."
 
Before, those in need of medical treatment had to make the expensive and dangerous journey to Kismayo, Mogadishu, or across the border into Kenya.
 
In the past, Ras Kamboni served as a training center for al-Qaida and al-Shabab militants. Last October, the Kenyan Defense Forces and the Ras Kamboni Brigade - a regional Somali militia - took control of the town. Residents expected humanitarian aid to soon follow.
 
Until now, a Somali aid group called AFREC has been the only humanitarian agency operating in Ras Kamboni.
 
An elder in the village addressed the WHO team upon arrival. he said, "When we liberated this area from the enemy we expected the international community to do something. They didn't respond the way we wanted, because the last nine months the security was OK."  
 
"AFREC responded within one month, they have done a great job and still they continue," he said. "But when it comes to the need of this community, it is bigger than their capacity. Where are the other people, that is the question we ask ourselves."
 
Despite the stability of Ras Kamboni, the new field hospital faces operational challenges.
 
Dr. Saleh waits for a container to arrive from Mogadishu with the rest of the emergency room kit, and  with equipment and medications to sustain the new field hospital after he leaves.
 
A patient rests after his operation, Ras Kamboni, Somalia, July 5, 2012. (VOA - R. Gogineni)A patient rests after his operation, Ras Kamboni, Somalia, July 5, 2012. (VOA - R. Gogineni)
x
A patient rests after his operation, Ras Kamboni, Somalia, July 5, 2012. (VOA - R. Gogineni)
A patient rests after his operation, Ras Kamboni, Somalia, July 5, 2012. (VOA - R. Gogineni)
He received a call between operations. The humanitarian convoy delivering the container has been stopped by an enemy militia. One driver and passenger have been killed.
 
"About 60 trucks stopped by militia in El Waq… Can you hear me?" Omar asked. "So now it’s stuck in El Waq, yeah?  OK, tell them to stay there, there is no rush. They are going to miss me anyhow. Play it safe."
 
Humanitarian convoys must pass through al-Shabab-occupied territory to reach Ras Kamboni or other towns now controlled by Kenyan forces and regional militia. These are islands of security, stable for now but cut off from both the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu and the international community.

You May Like

Video British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Multimedia Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid