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

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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs