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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More