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 Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid