News / Africa

Mogadishu Feeding Centers Keep Hundreds of Thousands from Starvation

Twice a day, crowds of hungry people line up outside feeding centers all across Mogadishu, holding a pan or a bucket to receive a hot meal
Twice a day, crowds of hungry people line up outside feeding centers all across Mogadishu, holding a pan or a bucket to receive a hot meal
Peter Heinlein
MOGADISHU - The population of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, has shot up from 1.8 million to two million since African Union and government forces drove out the militant group al-Shabab.  Most of the arrivals came last year in search of food after drought and famine struck much of Somalia's war-ravaged countryside.  Many feeding centers that have sprung up to help those displaced by famine and fighting.

Twice a day, crowds of hungry people line up outside feeding centers all across Mogadishu, holding a pan or a bucket to receive a hot meal.  Anyone who shows up is fed.

United Nations officials say 100,000 get what is called wet, or cooked, food.  Another 200,000 are receiving nutritional assistance in other forms.

These women say they would rather have dry food they can prepare themselves.  That would give them more freedom.  But attempts to distribute dry food in Mogadishu have ended in riots, with people being killed.

Authorities say families who came to the Somali capital during the famine last year have been slow to go back to their homes.  Food, basic medical services and even rudimentary schools are available in Mogadishu, all commodities rare in the rural areas.  And there are jobs, as the city starts rebuilding after years of al-Shabab control.

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