News / Africa

Famine Danger Continues in Parts of Somalia

Women wait in line at a food distribution site in Dolo, Somalia, July 18, 2012.
Women wait in line at a food distribution site in Dolo, Somalia, July 18, 2012.
NAIROBI — A year ago, United Nations officials declared famine in two regions of southern Somalia: Bakool and Lower Shabelle. Overwhelming support from the international community, together with favorable rains, helped improve food security in some parts of the country, saving millions of Somalis.  But the crisis is far from over.

One of the reasons famine was declared in parts of Somalia last July was the malnutrition rate among children exceeded 30 percent.  Tens of thousands of people died in south central Somalia alone.  

The U.N.'s Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Mark Bowden says Somalia has moved from that situation and during the last six months the worst of the famine conditions have been dealt with.

However, Bowden says in parts of southern Somalia people still need emergency assistance and one in five children is still suffering from acute malnutrition.

"Some 2.5 million people are in need, critical in need of humanitarian emergency assistance and then we estimate another 1.3 million need continuous longer term support to help them maintain their livelihoods," Bowden added.

At this time of the year last year, the situation was dire inside Somalia with no aid assistance reaching the needy people and the effects of four consecutive years of drought and two decades of war visible everywhere.

Thousands of Somalis trekked vast distances in search of water, food, and medical supplies.

Maulid Warfa, a Somali aid worker and also emergency coordinator for the U.N. Children's agency UNICEF, said there is now a reduction of the number of people seeking assistance and there is a strong need to sustain the level of intervention currently in place.

"We do not have people dying in the number they were dying before," said Warfa.  "The malnutrition rate has been reduced at least by half, a lot of people were provided with food rations several, actually many of them have recovered. The situation has significantly improved not to level we want and the worrying we have now is if we do not sustain the current level of intervention the situation might deteriorate."

Warfa also says accessibility has improved in some parts of the country and also level of services provided to the people has increased.

The U.N.'s Mark Bowden said the cycle of humanitarian crisis facing Somalia must be broken.

"We also need to start this year jointly with donors and government donors to ensure that recovery is taking place so that we ensure people don't lurch from crisis to crisis depending on the weather conditions and we really take this opportunity to build back and their livelihoods," he said.

According to Bowden, no matter how much food aid is brought into Somalia, the major part of breaking the cycle of very long term humanitarian crisis is to bring a lasting and durable peace to the war-torn country.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid