News / Africa

Famine Spreads to New Region in Somalia

Internally displaced Somali people stand in line as they wait for cooked food in Hodan district, south of capital, Mogadishu, September 5, 2011.
Internally displaced Somali people stand in line as they wait for cooked food in Hodan district, south of capital, Mogadishu, September 5, 2011.
TEXT SIZE - +
Gabe Joselow

The United Nations says more than half of Somalia's population, four million people, is now in crisis as famine spreads, and 750,000 are at risk of death.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Somalia reported Monday that famine has extended to Bay, a major food-producing region, and is expected to continue spreading unless aid is increased. The agency says tens of thousands of people have died and hundreds are dying each day, at least half of them children.

The agency’s Somalia coordinator Mark Bowden says much more assistance is needed. “The next four months will be critical in which we have to stabilize the situation,” he said. “The message has been coming across consistently: this is not a short-term crisis.”

The U.N. has appealed for $1.1-billion to respond to the crisis and has raised about 60 percent of that amount, and Bowden says U.N. workers have been able to scale up activities in recent weeks as donors responded to earlier declarations of famine.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization stepped in with cash and seed programs to help keep farmers on their land, but program director Luca Alinovi says it is difficult to secure funding for longer-term programs.

“Mainly we receive money in response to the humanitarian crisis,” said Alinovi. “It is very difficult to get money for a longer-term initiative because most of the donors … want to have a functioning government.”

Logistical challenges

Somalia presents numerous logistical challenges to aid agencies, not the least of which is that the country has not had a functioning central government for the past 20 years.

The al-Qaida linked militant group al-Shabab continues to hold influence in parts of the country, threatening the security of aid workers.  The U.N. says it is in discussions with the militant group to get access to some of those areas.

Global response

The African Union said last month at a donors conference that it has raised more than $350 million in cash for drought and famine relief.  The AU has been criticized for its slow response to the crisis, which has forced hundreds of thousands of Somalis to flee their homes in search of food and water. Before the conference, the 54-member bloc had pledged only $500,000 in aid.

The United States has pledged more than $500 million in food and refugee assistance.  The European Union and its member countries have pledged more than $750 million, while the Organization of the Islamic Conference has pledged $350 million.

With the current humanitarian response level, the U.N. estimates most of southern Somalia will be in famine by the end of the year.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid