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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs