News / Africa

UN to Announce Somalia Famine Spreading

Somali children waits for relief food at Seyidka, a settlement camp for the internally displaced people (IDP) south of capital of Mogadishu, September 2, 2011
Somali children waits for relief food at Seyidka, a settlement camp for the internally displaced people (IDP) south of capital of Mogadishu, September 2, 2011

The United Nations is planning to announce Monday that the famine in Somalia has now spread to the Bay region of the south-central area of the country.

A U.N. official told VOA the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Somalia will announce that 4 million people - more than 50 percent of the population - are now in crisis. The famine is expected to spread further in coming months.

As one of the major food-producing areas of Somalia, the drought in Bay has had far-reaching implications.

Definition of Famine:

The word famine is a term that is not used lightly by humanitarian organizations. The United Nations describes a crisis as a famine only when the following conditions are met:

  • Malnutrition rates exceed 30 percent
  • More than two people per 10,000 people are dying each day
  • Severe lack of food access for large population

Current Famine:

    Almost half of Somalia's population, 3.7 million people, are affected by the current crisis with malnutrition rates in southern Somalia the highest in the world, surpassing 50 per cent in some areas. The United Nations says it is likely that tens of thousands have already have died, the majority of those being children.

    The drought that has led to the current famine in parts of Somalia has also affected people in Kenya and Ethiopia.

    Previous Famines in the Horn of Africa:

  • Somalia 1991-1992
  • Ethiopia 1984-1985
  • Ethiopia 197

The U.N. official says food production in the region has fallen by 82 percent.

Many of the refugees who arrive at the camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, or those who seek help in Mogadishu, come from the Bay region. And aid agencies have had immense difficulty reaching the communities who are still there.

In a release this week, the U.N. noted reports that the al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab has restricted movement in the area.

Bashir Mohammed is the Program Director for South Somalia with the Waabi Shebelle Development Association.  His group is a partner to Oxfam and works in drought-stricken areas of Somalia, but not in Bay.

He says logistically, it is a very difficult place to work.

“Because of the access issues and, I think, you know, different factions control different areas, it's a challenge to reach, I think, those areas whereby most of the international staff cannot go and maybe agencies, like the local national agencies also don't have the capacity to respond to those regions in terms of responding to the emergency,” said Mohammed.

The United Nations first declared famine in Bakool and parts of the Shabelle regions July 20.

Since then, famine has also been identified in and among the displaced-people's communities of Mogadishu and the Afgoye corridor west of the capital.

Famine is a technical term indicating that malnutrition rates have exceeded 30 percent, that more than two people per 10,000 are dying each day, and that many cannot get access to food and other essentials.

U.N. officials stress that the situation in Somalia is dire and will continue to get worse before it gets better.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid