News / Africa

    Mogadishu Mayor Says Aid Not Reaching Famine Victims

    Gabe Joselow

    More than 300,000 Somalis have fled to the capital Mogadishu in the past few months to escape famine and conflict in other parts of the country.  The city, which lies in rubble from years of conflict, already has enough challenges.

    Mogadishu Mayor Mohammed Ahmed Noor has his hands full.  Just a year into office, Noor is witnessing a massive influx of internally displaced people who are overwhelming his city's meager infrastructure.

    Noor says there are hundreds of camps already.  One of the largest is called Badbaado, a name that means "rescue."

    "I believe even that camp there are 4,927 families, multiply it by seven, because average  family of Somalis consist of 7.  If you multiply, that's 35,000 almost - 35,000 individuals in one camp.  How can you sustain in a month without any help?  We cannot sustain, we cannot continue, I'm telling you, we cannot continue. And I think there will be a time when we collapse and say that's it," said Noor.

    The refugees come from the Bay and Bakool regions, and other parts of southern Somalia that have fallen into famine.

    Definition of Famine:

    The word famine is a term that is not used lightly by humanitarian organizations. The United Nations describes a crisis as a famine only when the following conditions are met:

    • Malnutrition rates exceed 30 percent
    • More than two people per 10,000 people are dying each day
    • Severe lack of food access for large population

    Current Famine:

      Almost half of Somalia's population, 3.7 million people, are affected by the current crisis with malnutrition rates in southern Somalia the highest in the world, surpassing 50 per cent in some areas. The United Nations says it is likely that tens of thousands have already have died, the majority of those being children.

      The drought that has led to the current famine in parts of Somalia has also affected people in Kenya and Ethiopia.

      Previous Famines in the Horn of Africa:

    • Somalia 1991-1992
    • Ethiopia 1984-1985
    • Ethiopia 1974

    Many arrive hungry, weak and sick after the long journey. Residents at the camp say they receive very little assistance, except for some food provided by the local community.

    Noor complains that food provided by aid agencies is sitting in warehouses and not being distributed to the people.  But he's reluctant to try to distribute it himself.

    "I cannot do it, because if a U.N. Agency - for example, if I say, ok, I will use authority and I will order that all the food should be shipped to the people, then there would be a criticism and they will say he looted," Noor added.  "That's what they would say.  They will not say he distributed the food to the people, they will say the mayor looted the food and I don't want that to happen."

    Catherine Bragg, assistant U.N. secretary-general and deputy emergency relief coordinator spoke to the Security Council on Wednesday and said that humanitarian operations in Mogadishu were complex and increased aid distribution was not something that could be done quickly.  

    Aside from the food crisis, one of the biggest challenges facing Mogadishu has been an insurgency by the al-Qaida linked militant group al-Shabab.

    The militants had controlled large parts of Mogadishu for years, until the group announced its withdraw from the city last week.

    The Bakara market in Mogadishu use to be a bustling center of commerce in the Somali capital. But that was before the al-Shabab militants moved into the area. Gabe Joselow filed this report from the scene.

    Mayor Noor now has his city back and says this marks the beginning of the end of al-Shabab.

    "[The] Shabab ideology is dead," added Noor.  "Nobody will buy that idea.  It was based on oppression, it was based on blood, it was based on displacement, it was based on darkness, it was based on hunger and poverty.  [The] Somali people rejected that.  They cannot survive in Somalia anymore."

    Even with al-Shabab gone, Mogadishu, a city without basic services, like clean water or a fire department, is a long way from being stable.  And Mayor Noor, whose nickname is Tarzan, will have to face the challenges that lie ahead.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora