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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs