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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora