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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs