News / Africa

Thousands of Famine Victims in Somalia Abandoning Farms

A Somali boy milks his cow outside his tent in Medina Xoosh district in Mogadishu (File Photo - January 12, 2011)
A Somali boy milks his cow outside his tent in Medina Xoosh district in Mogadishu (File Photo - January 12, 2011)
Lisa Schlein

A senior U.N. official says thousands of people in famine-stricken Somalia are abandoning their farms in search of assistance.  The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative for Kenya and Somalia warns this mass movement risks overwhelming international aid efforts, and says FAO is taking measures to try to keep people from leaving their land. 

The FAO representative says the situation of drought and famine in Somalia is worsening.  Luca Alinovi notes five regions in south and central Somalia have officially been declared famine zones, and he expects famine to spread to other regions.  

He says an increasing number of farmers, desperate for food, are abandoning their farms and moving to overcrowded refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. Thousands of others have fled to the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Alinovi warns the situation will become simply unbearable in the coming weeks, if this mass movement of people continues.

“We see the camps expanding dramatically in Mogadishu and we see the people moving towards Afgooye in a quite dramatic phase," said Alinovi. "It is difficult to foresee exactly a number because the possibility is basically everybody who lives in that area moving out, which would be a disaster.”  

Alinovi says a major concern is that once people leave their farms, they will not be able to go back because someone else will have taken over the farms they have abandoned.  He notes the next planting season is in October, just two months from now, and says it’s important the farmers remain on the land so they can be productive.  

He says that FAO has a strategy for doing just that. He says the only way to keep people on the farm is to enlist them into cash-for-work programs. This will provide them with money to help them maintain their irrigation systems, have access to markets, and work their own fields.

“And, in September, latest early October, provide them with seeds, tools and any kind of support that is needed to go back to farming because most of these people have lost their…most of their assets, which do not allow them to access decent seeds, decent fertilizer and a possibility to produce," said Alinovi. "So, if they know that the package includes immediate cash support for cash for work activities and, at the same time, the possibility to have access to inputs at the beginning of the season, that will give them the possibility to continue to farm.”  

(Alinovi says immediate cash relief must be given to those people who are too weak to farm so they too will remain on the land. And, once they become stronger and able to work, he says they too should be offered the opportunity to be part of the cash-for-work scheme.

The FAO official says the goal of the plan is to make these people believe they can continue their lives where they are. If the international relief response is targeted only to selected areas, he says, people will be forced to migrate to these places.

Alinovi says the FAO has received up to 70 percent support in pledges for its $70 million appeal. He says the agency could persuade a lot Somalis to stay on their farms if these pledges were translated into money in the bank.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs