News / Africa

Mogadishu Offers Little Comfort to Somalis Arriving From Famine

Badbaado refugee camp in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, August 11, 2011
Badbaado refugee camp in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, August 11, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

Famine is forcing Somalis by the hundreds of thousands to leave their homes in search of survival. Some are fleeing across the border to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, where international aid agencies are providing food aid. But those reaching the Somali capital are finding little if any help.



Women with scrawny children on their hips stand in line for hours outside the dirt-floored kitchen at Mogadishu’s Badbaado Camp, holding a pot or sometimes just a plastic bag. Inside, volunteers man two huge iron cauldrons, scooping out a ladle of boiled white rice into each container.

For most of the camp’s 20,000 or so residents, that rice and a bit of thin soup is all they have to survive on.

Forty-year-old Khadija Ibrahim and her six children walked most of the way from a village 200 kilometers south of the capital, in an area controlled by the al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab. She says an al-Shabab gunman killed her husband when he refused an order to go to a mosque.

Khadija says the rice has little nutritional value, but it’s better than nothing, which is what they had in the famine-stricken south.

“We eat rice with no meat or vegetables. It’s not nutritious, but it’s survival. We eat whatever we can get,” she said.

Authorities say hundreds of camps just like Badbaado have sprung up in and around Mogadishu over the past three months. There may be 200 Badbaados, maybe 300. No one knows for sure.

But while aid is reaching the refugee camps outside Somalia, the United Nations and the big international humanitarian agencies have still not been able to begin food distribution in Mogadishu. It was only a week ago that al-Shabab was driven out of the city, allowing aid workers to survey the scope of the unfolding catastrophe.

It will be weeks, maybe months, before a system of food distribution can be set up.

26-year-old Umar Aden has been here with his family for nearly a month. He says what little food there is being supplied by local businesses hoping to prevent a mass starvation.

“This camp has a leader who collects money from the local community and he cooks food for us every single day," Aden said.

Still for many, it is hard to understand why it is taking so long to get food, some of which has reached Mogadishu port.

Mohammed Abdallah is a community elder working with the people of Badbaado Camp. He worries that help may not be on the way in time to help many of the camp’s sick and malnourished children.

“Our requests for aid have fallen on deaf ears. There’s nothing.” He says the only thing available the cooked rice and some plastic sheeting for making tents," he said.

With al-Shabab gone, aid agencies are beginning to descend on the city. The head of the United Nations disaster relief agency OCHA is said to be arriving in the next couple days.

But aid professionals say even in the best case scenario, the short-term outlook for those who have arrived in Mogadishu, and for those who may still be suffering in the famine-stricken south and central Somalia, is disturbing.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid