News / Africa

UN Says Nearly One-Third Of Somalia's Population Needs Aid

Women and children fleeing the war in Somalia queue to register at Dadaab, the refugee camp in northern Kenya, 09 Sep 2010
Women and children fleeing the war in Somalia queue to register at Dadaab, the refugee camp in northern Kenya, 09 Sep 2010
Lisa Schlein

The World Health Organization reports about two million people in Somalia, or nearly one-third of the total population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.  That includes almost 1.5 million internally displaced people.  

Somalia has been in a chronic state of emergency for almost 20 years.  It has had no effective central government since the country's last dictator, Siad Barre, was overthrown in a coup in 1991.

Since then, the country has been lurching from one crisis to another.  Conflict among rival groups is a permanent part of the scene.  All this is taking a terrible toll on the health and wellbeing of the Somali people.

WHO Representative in Somalia, Marthe Everard, says three hospitals in the capital Mogadishu report more than 7,000 people have been injured since the beginning of this year.  She says these injuries include one in five children and one in three women.

In addition, she says WHO estimates more than 500 people have been killed due to the intensified conflict and military interventions.

"The problem is that we cannot give you an exact figure on the deaths because many people who die in an event will not come to the hospital and there also is not a registration system for death certificates," said Everard. "So, what is coming to the hospitals, that is what we can report on."  

Related report by Mike Sunderland:

The World Health Organization reports mothers and newborns in Somalia suffer from alarming levels of death and disease.  It notes one in five children die before the age of five and the maternal mortality rate also is very high.

It says Somalia has a very weak health workforce.  This is the result of a severe brain drain of skilled health workers who go to work in high-income foreign countries.  Currently, Somalia only has around 250 qualified doctors, 860 nurses and just 116 midwives.

Insecurity is making it very difficult for health and other aid workers to get access to certain parts of the country.  In January, growing insecurity and threats from the militant al-Shabab forced the World Food Program to leave South Central Somalia, depriving hundreds of thousands of needy people of food.

Despite these and other problems, Dr. Everard says the World Health Organization is wracking up a number of successes.  For instance, she says Somalia has been polio-free since 2007.  She says more than 40 tuberculosis clinics with trained staff are operating in south-central Somalia and malaria control programs are saving lives.

"The perception is that nothing can be done in Somalia," said Dr. Everard. "But, with communities, the communities in Somalia are there also to work and to support the health issues.  So, the community structure is very strong and they sometimes say we need bed nets, we need this, we need education interventions.  So, please come and help us.  They are very vocal and they are very structured-maybe because of the clan system, so that they can make a voice altogether."  

The United Nations is appealing for $530 million for urgent humanitarian needs in Somalia next year.  The so-called health cluster requires nearly $60 million of that sum to fund 45 life-saving health projects.

These include extending emergency care, including maternal and reproductive health, outbreak control and supporting key hospitals throughout the country.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid