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

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid