News / Africa

Aid Group Appeals for Drought Aid to Somalia

Internally displaced Somali children line up with containers in hand to receive food aid at a food distribution center, in Mogadishu, Somalia, (File Photo - March 15, 2011)
Internally displaced Somali children line up with containers in hand to receive food aid at a food distribution center, in Mogadishu, Somalia, (File Photo - March 15, 2011)
Michael Onyiego

The humanitarian group Oxfam says the intensifying drought in Somalia has claimed more than 500 lives and is likely to claim many more. 

Hundreds are dead from drought-related disease as Somalia and parts of Kenya and Ethiopia brace for a humanitarian disaster. British-based relief group Oxfam says at least 500 people, including more than 80 children, have died from diseases such as diarrhea since the beginning of the year.

Two seasons of failed rains throughout east Africa have pushed up to 10-million people - including one in three Somalis - toward starvation. Throughout the region, the drought has killed countless crops and hundreds of thousands of livestock, forcing people off their land and into the arid regions of Somalia and Kenya in search of food.

Oxfam spokesperson Alun McDonald says the suffering currently being witnessed may be just the beginning of an even larger crisis.

“It is definitely a big concern that it is going to get worse," said McDonald. "We have just had 12 very, very dry months.  We have got at least another three or four dry months before the next rainy season in most of the areas and even that is not guaranteed to come. There is definitely a chance that, over the next few months, we will see much larger-scale loss of life.”

While the food crisis in Somalia has not been designated a famine, many - including the United Nations - believe the situation has reached “pre-famine conditions.”  Parts of northern Kenya have received as little as one-quarter of the average yearly rainfall, and analysts say the past year’s rainfall has been the lowest recorded since 1950 and 1951.

The crisis is receiving comparisons to the Somali famine of 1991 and 1992.

“The levels of malnutrition that we are seeing from refugees coming out of Somalia are some of the worst that we have seen since the early 1990s," added McDonald. "People are coming out with malnutrition four or five times the level that is normally considered to be an emergency.”

The 1991-1992 famine claimed more than 300,000 lives before the international community decided to intervene and deliver food. Aid originally sent to alleviate the crisis was being commandeered by Somalia’s warlords to help fuel the country’s civil war. 

The ongoing war between Somalia's U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government and Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab is interfering with aid delivery. The group controls much of southern and central Somalia and has, for the past year, cut off humanitarian access to regions under its control, forcing many to flee.  

Equally worrying are the conditions facing refugees pouring into Mogadishu, Kenya and Ethiopia in search of food.  While feeding stations have been set up in the Somali capital, the thousands arriving every week have all but overwhelmed the centers. In Kenya, the situation is worse.

According to aid group Save the Children, as many 1,300 Somalis are crossing the Kenyan border each day to seek refuge in the camps at Dadaab. Originally designed to hold around 90,000 people, Dadaab’s three camps are now home to over 360,000, with more coming every day. The new arrivals must battle not only acute malnutrition, but squalid conditions and the threat of disease.

An extension of the facilities at Dadaab has been approved, but delayed for the past year by the Kenyan government. Oxfam's McDonald called for the Kenyan government to allow the camp’s desperately needed expansion. He also criticized the international community for not maintaining the facilities in Dadaab as the population began to mushroom years ago.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid