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

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states 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.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid