News / Africa

    Somalia Urges ‘International Intervention’ in Fight Against Famine, Drought

    Somalis displaced by drought wait to receive food in their makeshift camp in Mogadishu, July 23, 2011
    Somalis displaced by drought wait to receive food in their makeshift camp in Mogadishu, July 23, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • Clottey interview with Omar Osman, Somali govenment spokesman

    Peter Clottey

    An official of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is calling for “international intervention” to help his administration combat drought and famine, which has forced thousands of Somalis to flee to neighboring countries.

    Last week, the president of Somalia and the United Nations declared that famine has struck two regions: Bakool and Lower Shabelle.

    Government spokesman Omar Osman also accused the hard-line Islamic insurgent group, al-Shabab, of thwarting humanitarian relief efforts.

    “The situation is very grave [and] for us, our action is very limited due to the extreme nature of the drought,” said Omar. “We have seen an influx of refugees or internally displaced people fleeing from regions controlled by al-Shabab moving to government controlled areas.”

    Described by Washington as a terrorist group with links to al-Qaida, al-Shabab militants control much of southern and central Somalia, while the government controls only parts of the capital, Mogadishu.

    Omar said the TFG is working closely with international humanitarian groups to help mitigate the effect of the drought, despite its meager resources.

    “Our government has done a lot by mobilizing the resources that it has by bringing in more international aid agencies to Mogadishu and also appealing to the international community [for help, with] the prime minister personally taking the initiative,” said Omar.

    Last week, the U.N. Refugee Agency said the death rate of starving Somalis reaching refugees camps in Ethiopia and Kenya is climbing, and the exodus of Somalis is continuing at a high rate.

    But al-Shabab accused the U.N. of using the famine as a propaganda tool for political gains. The al Qaeda-linked insurgent group then vowed not to allow aid groups it has banned from operating in famine-stricken areas it controls.

    Omar said there are reasons to believe that al-Shabab is purposely starving citizens in the areas the militant’s control as part of its agenda, which he said is to overthrow the internationally-backed government.

    “The extremists are literally and deliberately starving the people to death, and that’s what we do not want. So, we need to [make] every effort to make sure that people are safe,” said Omar. “The root cause of the famine is the insurgency and the extremists. It’s very difficult to deal with. They are not allowing aid agencies to go to through.”

    He adds that the TFG will continue its efforts to combat the effects of the drought.

    Relief workers say the Horn of Africa is experiencing the worst drought in six decades.  The U.N. has said more than 11 million people are in need of food aid.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora