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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid