News / Africa

Somali Humanitarian Crisis Eases

Newly arrived Somali refugees ride a donkey at the Ifo Extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, October 19, 2011.
Newly arrived Somali refugees ride a donkey at the Ifo Extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, October 19, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
There’s been a big improvement in Somalia’s humanitarian situation. U.N. officials say it’s due to innovative approaches to aid delivery, favorable rains and success against militants.


There are about one million fewer Somalis listed as being “in crisis.” That’s half of what it was six months ago.

“The situation in Somalia [has] radically changed in a sustainable manner. We are at risk now if we don’t support the people to come out from this very, very uncertain situation to go back in a situation like the one in 2011,” said Luca Alinovi, who’s in charge of U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) operations in Somalia.


In 2011, famine was declared in several parts of Somalia. Many people died and many others walked for weeks to reach areas with food and water. This includes the huge Dadaab refugee camp complex in Kenya.

“During the famine and the season after, we’ve been substantially intervening with cash-based intervention. We’ve been supporting the people to stay where they were. Although obviously there was a substantial number of displaced moving out, but the number was much less than what could have been. FAO  was particularly strong in supporting [the] cash for work program, which helped the people to rebuild the infrastructure that they need – to continue to produce even during [a] difficult season – to continue to breed animals, He said.

Previous interventions, he said, were based more on simply providing commodity aid – food, shelter and basic essentials.

At a time when climate change has made annual rainfall either unpredictable or scarce, 2012 was a good year.

“It was about the average. So it went quite well in terms of rain. We have also two major rivers, which cross Somalia for which there is quite a high capacity of having irrigated area[s]. A lot of investment in the past and today and hopefully tomorrow will be in strengthening these irrigated area[s] to increase the production in those area[s], which are able to cover basically above 50 percent of the needs of the country,” he said.

Another major factor affecting the humanitarian situation has been the success against al Shabab militants. Forces from the AU, known as AMISOM, along with those from the Somali government and Kenya, have driven the group from many areas.  However, Alinovi said that insecurity is still a problem.

“It’s still quite unstable and the military operation is still ongoing very much, particularly in the agricultural area, in the rural area, which obviously creates a climate of uncertainty. “However, we also have to say that the increased amount of area which has been liberated by AMISOM, has been allowing increased access to the area. Having said that -- most of the rural area remains under the control of al Shabab,” he said.

The FAO official said that the recent success is just one step toward reestablishing Somalia as a stable nation. He says there are several hundred more steps to go. Alinovi added that more programs are needed to build the resilience of the Somali people against future shocks, whether from drought or conflict.

The FAO, the World Food Program and UNICEF are working together to do just that. The humanitarian agencies warn that the situation remains critical for more than one million Somalis. They are still not able to meet their basic needs on their own.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid