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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs