tagged w/ Somalia
Almost 260,000 people, half of them young children, died of hunger during the last famine in Somalia, according to a UN report that admits the world body should have done more to prevent the tragedy.
The toll is much higher than was feared at the time of the 2010-2012 food crisis in the troubled Horn of Africa country and also exceeds the 220,000 who starved to death in a 1992 famine, according to the findings.
"The report confirms we should have done more before the famine was declared," said Philippe Lazzarini, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia.
"Warnings that began as far back as the drought in 2010 did not trigger sufficient early action," he said in a statement.
Half of those who died were children under five, according to the joint report by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and the US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network.
"Famine and severe food insecurity in Somalia claimed the lives of about 258,000 people between October 2010 and April 2012, including 133,000 children under five," said the report, the first scientific estimate of how many people died.Almost 260,000 people, half of them young children, died of hunger during the last... more
Pilotless drones gather enemy intelligence and blow up suspected terrorists abroad. It sounds great; American enemies are destroyed without risking military lives.
But America’s shift to drone-based warfare and surveillance should arouse concern. The Justice Department released a justification to take out American citizens without charges or trial. Federal agencies look to expand permits for drones in U.S. airspace. Smuggler Han Solo put it best in the original Star Wars: “I got a bad feeling about this.”Pilotless drones gather enemy intelligence and blow up suspected terrorists abroad. It... more
3 months ago
I wrote a story about a young Somali woman brutally gang-raped by government soldiers, hoping that her bravery in telling such a painful story would bring attention to the awful rape problem there. Instead, the government used my article tojail a rape victim for ‘insulting the state’! Now I’m asking all of us to stand together to end the epidemic of rape by security forcesI wrote a story about a young Somali woman brutally gang-raped by government soldiers,... more
Somalia, Nov 19 – Hassan Hussein cuts down 40 trees every month to fuel his charcoal business, fully aware of the impact his action has on the environment.
But for the livestock keeper, the forests are the last remaining resource. And he is not alone.
Hundreds of thousands of Somalia’s traditional pastoralist herders do the same, putting their impoverished country on a path of heavy deforestation that risks turning large swathes of their country into a desert.
“I used to keep animals, but I lost my herd to famine and disease and am the eldest in the family,” says Hussein, 27, adding that he has 10 mouths to feed back home — two children, seven brothers and his mother.
Four years ago, Hussein had 25 camels and 300 goats. Now, only three camels and 15 goats from his once respectable sized herd are left.
Thus every morning, with an axe slumped over his shoulder, he sets off in search of wood for charcoal.
Once he locates and cuts down a tree, it takes two days of burning, and two more days of cooling the smouldering heaps before he can sell the charcoal, at six dollars (five euros) for a 20 kilogramme sack.
The village of Jaleo, in the northern self-declared state of Somaliland, once prided itself on being at the heart of the savannah.
British explorer Harald Swayne recounted, in his 19th century memoirs, the adventures he had while tracking and hunting “a large herd of elephants.”
But the last elephant was killed in 1958, and were Swayne to retake his journey today, he would only find the smallest of game in a rocky landscape dotted with shrubs and charred tree stumps.
“Twenty percent of the forest has disappeared in the last ten years — definitely this country is turning into a desert,” Ahmed Derie Elmi, director of forests in Somaliland’s environment ministry, recently tells AFP.
“If the deforestation continues at this pace, this country will be a desert in two or three decades,” echoes Ahmed Ibrahim Awale of the Candlelight organisation, which tackles environmental and health issues in Somaliland.
– ‘All the trees will have disappeared’ –
Charcoal burning has not always been preferred in Jalelo.
Three years ago an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever in the Horn of Africa forced Gulf states to suspend importation of animals or animal products from the region, forcing the herders to look for alternative sources of income.
But it is urbanisation and a population explosion that are the biggest threats to the country’s environmental well-being.
Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa has a population of 850,000 people, six times its population in the 1970s, which consumes approximately 250 tonnes of charcoal daily.
Elmi says that charcoal is the main source of energy, as electricity is rare and expensive for many.
The rampant deforestation is not unique to Somaliland. In southern Somalia, Al Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents turned charcoal burning and exportation into one of their major sources of income.
In a report, the UN monitoring group on Somalia and Eritrea says the Islamist group made up to 25 million dollars every year from charcoal trade.
Several regions of southern Somalia were declared famine zones by the United Nations last year, with the deforestation contributing to an extreme drought.
In a bid to put an end to rampant deforestation, Somalia’s newly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in one of his first official duties banned all exportation of charcoal, in line with a UN embargo in February.
However, much more than a UN declaration and a presidential decree are needed to bring the deforestation to an end.
“The underlying causes of poverty and the general decline of the size of livestock herds have to be addressed,” says Awale.
Alternative sources of energy must be harnessed to cater for the population, massive reforestation campaigns need to be initiated and some of the pastoralists need to switch to agriculture.
In a country where the government faces numerous challenges, environmental matters are not a priority.
“The Ministry of Environment has the smallest budgetary allocation that only covers the salaries of 187 employees,” says Elmi.
“All the mature trees have disappeared…. In the past one could get six or seven 25 kilogramme sacks of charcoal from a tree. Today, maybe one or two,” Awale says.
As a consequence, charcoal prices in Somaliland have doubled in the past four years, to 10 dollars a sack.
“Each time I cut down a tree, I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth,” Hussein says.
“The future is bleak…. All the trees will have disappeared.”Somalia, Nov 19 – Hassan Hussein cuts down 40 trees every month to fuel his... more
Election results got ya down? Well here is a big opportunity to put your money where your mouth is. Have I got a place for you to go! Somalia! The weather is GREAT this time of year.
There is no big government to interfere with your awesome entreprenurial plans. You can own a bazooka, or a flame thrower, or a tank! (You will most likely need all three) No stupid taxes making you pay for that socialist fire department, or Interstate system, or Internet infrastructure. What are you waiting for? The possibilities are limited only by your imagination and spirit! When you turn the country around you can proudly crow "I built this all by myself!!"Election results got ya down? Well here is a big opportunity to put your money where... more
The United States enlisted Ethiopia, Uganda, the African Union, and the United Nations to destroy the lives and sovereignty of the Somali people. The subjugation of Somalia has cost billions, which the Americans have freely spent, but Washington and its vassals can spare only 10 cents a day to feed the Somali victims – a budget designed for mass death. The UN announced its budget for feeding the over one million Somali refugees under its care for the next year and have allocated less than 10 cents a day to do so. http://www.makeahistory.com/index.php/recent-news/43063-a-million-dollars-a-day-for-the-war-on-the-somali-peopleThe United States enlisted Ethiopia, Uganda, the African Union, and the United Nations... more
12 months ago
There are 350 million Americans and it’s pretty embarrassing that these door knobs are the ones running. Sigh…There are 350 million Americans and it’s pretty embarrassing that these door... more
Where is the Liberal Outrage?... if Bush was doing this the left would be up in arms... :/ Just goes to show there is no Left or Right there is only Power and Peons... :(
http://youtu.be/_9DE0ON_UzoWhere is the Liberal Outrage?... if Bush was doing this the left would be up in... more
"Below I give some interesting and generally unreported facts that give important background on many of the failing states regularly in the news. For example, Somalia, Haiti, Iraq, Palestinian Territory and Afghanistan. It also includes Pakistan and Iran." - Brian McGavin, writer and analyst"Below I give some interesting and generally unreported facts that give important... more
http://bcove.me/sxi31pzq (For video)
—The medical chart Abdisalam Osman’s mother uses to flick away flies says her youngest son suffers from acute malnutrition and the measles. A chest X-ray will soon reveal he also has tuberculosis.
When he arrived at Mogadishu's Benadir Hospital, 3-year-old Abdisalam weighed only 14 pounds. Each laborious breath made his tiny rib cage stick out even farther.
He lies beside his mother, unable to cry; all his energy reserved for his weak gasps.
“A 50-50 chance,” says Dr. Shafie Mohamed Jimale, gently touching the little boy’s emaciated arm. The 30-year-old Somali pediatrician, trained in Sudan, became a father two months earlier; his son was born at the height of the famine that is mainly killing children.
Many of his patients have died. About 50-50.
When Somalia’s famine was declared in July there were emergency calls for help and shocking statistics: 29,000 children had died in the worst drought in 60 years.
A global relief effort has helped save some. Last Friday, the United Nations Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit downgraded famine declarations for three southern regions, thanks to the rains that have finally come and emergency food aid.
But the UN warns that 250,000 are at risk as cholera, malaria and other diseases spread through crowded hospitals and camps. Tens of thousands of others still face starvation.
This famine should not have come as a shock. And if its roots are not understood and the world looks away again, Somalia’s cycle of despair — corruption, starvation, war, death — will continue, dragging children like Abdisalam into its abyss.
So what caused the famine?
Back-to-back droughts killed the livestock and destroyed the farms throughout the Horn of Africa, like the one Abdisalam’s family tended.
The southern region of the country is also warring with Al Shabab, the militant Islamic group that has pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda, and starved its own people by blocking outside foreign aid.
These are the easy answers.
These are the hard ones: Somalia’s rampant and criminal government-corruption; a war on terror at the expense of aid; and a lucrative crisis industry that spends millions that Somalis will never see.
This is why this country has topped Foreign Policy’s index of failed states for the last three years and why a drought that affected the entire Horn of Africa became a famine only in Somalia.
The scope of the tragedy is overwhelming. Last Friday’s UN announcement on easing famine conditions did not include Mogadishu. The city remains a famine zone.
Tents made of sticks and cloth, pitched between dilapidated buildings, house the starving and desperate. The sea of people in the camps ripples endlessly. It is difficult to get an accurate estimate, but it is believed that more than 100,000 have arrived since July.
Water is still scarce and largely contaminated. Mounds of human feces dot walkways between the shelters. Security is a problem. Rapes and abuses have been reported. Few foreign aid groups have come, with the exception of the Turks, who have taken over a large region of the city now called “Little Istanbul.”
Across the street from Tarabunka, a sprawling camp of more than 16,000, the graveyard is already near capacity. Ali Kafi, one of the farmers-turned-gravediggers, says he hunts untouched patches of red earth to find burial plots. Before 10 on one October morning, three babies and a young woman, nine-months pregnant, were buried. It was a typical day.
The good news for Mogadishu is that there are few visible remnants of the Shabab, which has waged war against the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) for nearly three years.
Weakened themselves by the famine and claiming to withdraw for “tactical” purposes, hundreds of Shabab fighters abruptly left the capital this summer.
This is why Abdisalam’s family trekked here from the south, believing there would be help in Mogadishu from the TFG, the UN-backed parliament of 550, propped up by a 9,000-member African Union peacekeeping force of Burundian and Ugandan soldiers.
The TFG had an opportunity to repair its badly damaged reputation and make the famine a priority. That didn’t happen.
As people began to starve earlier this year, the country’s president and its parliamentary speaker — President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Speaker Hassan Sharif, who are known as the “Two Sharifs” — were locked in a dispute, trying to shore up political support as they debated at conferences in Djibouti, Kenya or Uganda.
“They say the fish starts rotting from the head,” says Abdi Rashid, an analyst with the International Crisis Group. “At the height of the famine, there was a president who was busy holding meetings with clan elders, not talking about the famine, but about the struggle with the speaker of parliament.”
But the “Two Sharifs” are not the only members of the TFG accused of political gamesmanship or corruption.
One senior TFG official says he is disgusted with his government’s continued focus on politics and power.
“What are we doing?” he asks. “People are dying and we’re focusing on passing a road map?”
Still, there is confusion, says Joe Belliveau, operations manager in Somalia for Médecins Sans Frontières. “The bottom line is that it certainly does not encourage humanitarian action,” Belliveau says. “It’s fine to say that these conditions are lifted and maybe that will help in the short term, but the fact that those laws are on the books remains a major deterrent.”
Abdisalam is defying the odds that have conspired against him — the war against the Shabab, corruption, ineffective aid groups and a famine that the world failed to stop but is now trying to ease.
The nutrition supplements provided by the hospital have made him stronger and TB medication has calmed his breathing.
“He’s a fighter,” said Jimale, the doctor who has volunteered at the city-run Benadir Hospital for the last two years.
Abdisalam was discharged from the hospital three weeks ago and Jimale said the little boy’s odds of survival had increased to more than 80 per cent.
But Abdisalam and his family haven’t returned home. The rains may have come and eased the drought, but a Kenyan-led offensive to fight the Shabab has left the region war torn again.
Abdisalam now lives in one of the camps, just one of thousands getting by, waiting for help.http://bcove.me/sxi31pzq (For video)
—The medical chart Abdisalam... more
Men claiming to be al-Qaida operatives are moving into the humanitarian vacuum in Somalia, distributing aid and cash to drought victims in an attempt to win hearts and minds, a Guardian investigation can reveal.
On a visit to the sprawling Ala-Yasir camp in the south of the country, the Guardian saw an al-Qaida unit handing out rice, flour, oil, dates and milk as well as Islamic books and clothes to some of the more than 4,000 people made destitute by this year's drought.
This was the first time the group has spoken publicly in Somalia, and the first time it has distributed aid. The unit's leader was introduced to the Guardian as al-Qaida's official envoy to Somalia.
Representatives of al-Shabaab, the militant Islamist group trying to seize power in the country, called him Abu Abdullah Muhajir, and said he was a white American. It was impossible to verify his identity or nationality.
Al-Shabaab is closely affiliated to al-Qaida and, after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the group vowed to avenge his death. A number of US citizens are known to have joined al-Shabaab in Somalia, including a suicide bomber from Minneapolis who attacked African Union troops in Mogadishu on Sunday.
Reading from a prepared statement, in American-accented English, Abu Abdullah Muhajir told the crowd: "To our beloved brothers and sisters in Somalia: we are following your situation on a daily basis. And, though we are separated by thousands of kilometres, you are consistently in our thoughts and prayers."
He then handed out the contents of bags full of Somali shillings to the equivalent of $17,000 (£10,600). The al-Qaida unit also brought along a fully staffed ambulance. Al-Qaida regards the young boys stuck in the camp after being driven from their villages by the drought as potential recruits. The boys gave Abu Abdullah Muhajir a rapturous welcome: "God is great! God is great!"
Osman Hassan, 16, clutched dates, milk and the Qur'an, gifts from al-Qaida. He said: "I pray for them to win over their enemies."
Muhammad Barre, nine, said: "I ask God to make al-Qaida victorious over their enemies."
After a decade-long war that has hobbled al-Qaida in eastern Afghanistan, the west's main concern is that the movement may be able to regroup in Somalia, which has had no functioning central government for more than two decades. The Ala-Yasir camp was set up in response to the worst regional drought in 60 years, which has affected (according to the latest UN report on Somalia) 4 million Somalis. It is located in the southern part of country, an area controlled by al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab members run the camp, having banned some of the international agencies from distributing aid.
The UN World Food Programme says it pulled out of the area because of threats to staff, and demands of informal taxes by the group. Al-Shabaab denies the claims.
Among the dozens of men accompanying the American visitor were several other foreigners, including some with English accents.
Also with them was a member of al-Shabaab calling himself Abu Omar, who was directing the food distribution.
He said he was British, but it was impossible to confirm this independently.
"It's a religious obligation. It's a duty upon us," he said. "I mean, we left our countries. I left, we left our jobs [and] ... all these places just to come here and help our people. I'm an aid worker, basically … typical aid worker, as you say in the west."Men claiming to be al-Qaida operatives are moving into the humanitarian vacuum in... more
1 year ago
Did Libya have a humanitarian crisis back in 2007 when Wesley Clark admitted to Amy Goodman of the Neocon cabal's plot to destroy seven nations in five years?
The plot to destroy Libya in addition to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan, And Iran
hav been in the works for years, if not a decade or more before the "spontaneous" Arab Spring uprisings.Did Libya have a humanitarian crisis back in 2007 when Wesley Clark admitted to Amy... more
Warning comes a day after hundreds of Kenyan troops crossed into Somalia to pursue al-Shabab fighters.
Fighters from Al-Shabab will attack Kenya unless it withdraws its troops from Somalia, a spokesman for the group has warned. Analysts say the group will try to follow through on its threat.
Hundreds of Kenyan troops entered Somalia on Sunday, backed by helicopters and tanks; officials in Somalia also said that jets had bombed al-Shabab camps, though Nairobi would not confirm the jets were theirs.
The troops are reportedly advancing towards Afmadow, a town about 120km east of the border. Kenya's government says they have been ordered to attack al-Shabab bases in southern Somalia. The group has been linked to several recent kidnappings in Kenya.
Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, a spokesman for Al-Shabab, told Kenya to withdraw its troops.
"Kenyan troops have entered 100 kilometres into Somalia and their planes bombarded many places and killed residents," Rage was quoted by the Reuters news agency on Monday. "We shall come into Kenya if you do not go back."
His claims about the Kenyan offensive could not be independently verified, and Kenya's defence ministry did not respond to a request for comment. Somalia's transitional government has endorsed the raid: Nur Ahmed, the Somali ambassador in Nairobi, said Kenya "has a right to defend its people."
'The restraint would be gone'
Al-Shabab has attacked Kenya's neighbours before - it killed more than 70 people in twin bombings last year in Kampala, the Ugandan capital - but the group has been reluctant to attack Kenya, despite repeated threats, because it feared reprisals from the Kenyan army.
But with that army already inside Somalia, analysts say al-Shabab might be more likely to carry out an attack inside Kenya's borders.
"Shabab was fearful that it would trigger a robust Kenyan response," EJ Hogendoorn, an analyst at the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, said. "If in fact you've already triggered that response, then to some degree the restraint on Shabab would be gone."
Sunday's Kenyan raid is largely a response to a recent spate of kidnappings in the country's coastal regions and along the border with Somalia.
Two Spanish aid workers were kidnapped last week, and their driver was wounded, in an attack on Ifo refugee camp in Dadaab, which houses tens of thousands of Somali refugees. Earlier this month, a French woman was kidnapped from her home in Manda, on Kenya's northern coast.
And last month, a British tourist was kidnapped from the resort of Kiwayu; her husband was shot dead.
"This is affecting their tourist industry and the security of international staff working for various aid agencies," Hogendoorn said. "If this affects regions along the coast, it's an enormous hit on their economy."
An Ethiopian parallel?
This is hardly the first Kenyan incursion into Somalia: Troops have pursued al-Shabab fighters across the border before. But those raids are usually brief and involve limited numbers of troops.
Sunday's incursion, on the other hand, was much larger, and it was announced in advance: George Saitoti, Kenya's interior security minister, held a press conference on Saturday and promised Kenyan forces would attack al-Shabab "wherever they will be."
Roger Middleton, a regional analyst at Chatham House, drew a parallel between the Kenyan incursion and Ethiopia's 2006 invasion of Somalia.
"It's a substantial and longer-lasting intervention, and if that's the case, the first thing that springs to mind is, Ethiopia tried this and it did not turn out too well," Middleton said.
The Ethiopian invasion, and the years-long occupation that followed, is widely credited with strengthening al-Shabab, which was able to portray itself as a resistance movement fighting an occupying power.
And the group is already attempting to frame the Kenyan incursion in the same way: A radio station controlled by al-Shabab asked Somalis if they were ready to "live under Christians" and urged them to fight.
"Get out of your homes and defend your dignity and religion. Today is the day to defend against the enemy," an al-Shabab official said in the radio broadcast, according to the AFP news agency.
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/10/20111017171543493140.htmlWarning comes a day after hundreds of Kenyan troops crossed into Somalia to pursue... more
This satirical video, "Sympathy From the Devil. Dafur", was produced over 2 years ago, and I'm sad to say that we only need to change some of the names of affected areas and it would be as true today as then. Add Somalia to the list of countries where inhabitants are living in dire conditions....
http://youtu.be/SCF4Xrc7J_8This satirical video, "Sympathy From the Devil. Dafur", was produced over 2... more
The United Nations announced Monday that Somalia’s famine had spread to a sixth area within the country, with officials warning that 750,000 people could die in the next few months unless aid efforts were scaled up.The United Nations announced Monday that Somalia’s famine had spread to a sixth... more
Famine has spread into one more region of Somalia and more than four million Somalis now need aid, the United Nations said Monday.
Hundreds of Somalis are dying every day, the UN Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia found in its latest surveys. At least half of them are children.
About 750,000 more people may die from famine in the next four months if there is no adequate response, the UN report said, an increase of 66 per cent from July.
Learn more about how the UN determines if food crisis has reached the level of famine.
The top humanitarian official for Somalia described getting aid to the starving as a "race against time" and warned the famine would probably spread before the end of the year.
"This isn't a short-term crisis," said Mark Bowden, who heads the UN office coordinating humanitarian aid to Somalia.
Bowden said the four million Somalis needing aid represent more than half of Somalia's population. He said it is also an increase from 3.7 million Somalis who needed aid in July.
The southern Bay region is the latest area to be declared a famine zone. Nearly 60 per cent of people there are acutely malnourished — four times the rate at which an emergency is declared, said Grainne Moloney, head of the food security unit.
"I've not seen anything like it," said Moloney.
Famine in 6 areas
Famine has now affected six areas, including four southern Somali regions and two settlements of internally displaced people.
The UN says tens of thousands of people already have died in Somalia due to the severe violence, drought and famine. More than 150,000 refugees have sought aid in the last few months. Families in Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti have also been affected.
Somalia has been hit hardest, its problems compounded by more than 20 years of civil war and Islamist insurgents that banned many aid agencies, including the UN's World Food Program, from their territory.
Maloney said a bad drought meant that harvests there are a quarter of normal levels — the worst for 17 years. The price of a day's casual labor had dropped from 15 kilograms of cereal to three kilograms, she said.
Bowden said access to areas in the south held by the al-Shabab insurgent militia was improving, and that there were some aid agencies that were able to work there.
more at the linkFamine has spread into one more region of Somalia and more than four million Somalis... more
Outbreaks of measles and cholera are striking down Somali children already weakened by hunger, resulting in dozens of new fatalities. News of the fast-spreading diseases has caused alarm among aid workers, who are struggling to deal with the humanitarian crisis brought on by the severe drought and conflict in Somalia.
Hundreds of thousands of people have fled into overflowing refugee camps in recent months in search of food and sanctuary, but many more remain in rebel-held famine zones where aid agencies have only limited access.
The World Health Organisation said on Friday that Somalia was experiencing a cholera epidemic. Linked to dirty water, poor sanitation and crowded settlements, the intestinal infection causes dehydration and is often fatal.
In just one hospital in Mogadishu, there have been 4,272 recorded cases of acute watery diarrhoea, a key indicator of the risk of cholera, causing 181 deaths. Most of those who have died were aged under five. Laboratory tests conducted on a sample of the cases this week suggested 60% of the infections were cholera.
While Somalia has experienced seasonal cholera outbreaks in recent years, this one is much worse. "The number of cases is two or even three times what was there last year," Dr Michel Yao, WHO's public health adviser, said in Geneva on Friday. "So we can say that we have an epidemic of cholera going on."
Yao said that the risk of the disease spreading was high since people were still moving around in search of food aid. At least 100,000 Somalis have fled to Mogadishu from the countryside in the last two months. An even greater number have travelled to sprawling drought-affected refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. In Kenya's Dadaab settlement, about 1,400 Somalis arrive every day, pushing the number of recorded refugees past 400,000. A further 38,000 people still await registration.
Famine conditions exist in two large regions of Somalia, as well as three smaller areas, including parts of Mogadishu where there are large concentrations of displaced people. Other regions of southern Somalia are expected to be declared famine zones in the next month or two.
The aid effort in Mogadishu was eased slightly last week when most of the al-Shabab militias withdrew following an offensive by African Union troops and pro-government forces. The Islamists claimed that the move was strategic, and said their fighters would adopt guerrilla tactics from now on rather than trying to hold ground in Mogadishu against the better-equipped AU peacekeepers.
But the rebels have been rocked by divisions due to their handling of the food crisis. Some of the hardline leaders, who come from the north of Somalia, have denied there is a famine in the south and refused to lift a ban on organisations such as the World Food Programme, the agency best equipped to manage a hunger emergency. This has angered local al-Shabab leaders, who want the people to receive help, even if it comes from the west. Interviews with refugees suggest that the rebels' restrictions on aid, as well as their policy of taking food and animals as "taxes", has eroded whatever support they may once have enjoyed.
Despite the withdrawal from Mogadishu, the Islamists still control much of southern Somalia, including the main famine zones.Outbreaks of measles and cholera are striking down Somali children already weakened by... more
This week, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has sent medical teams and four charter planes carrying 55 tons of medical equipment, medicines and therapeutic food to Mogadishu in response to the crisis in Somalia. In the past weeks, an estimated 100,000 people have fled from south and central Somalia to the capital to seek assistance. They are settling in numerous camps in and around Mogadishu, with little or no access to health care.
MSF has started measles vaccination campaigns in dozens of makeshift camps where thousands of people have gathered after fleeing the exceptional drought and the violence in other parts of the country. Almost 3,000 children were vaccinated so far. Of the nearly 1,000 children screened for malnutrition, more than half were malnourished.
“MSF is extremely worried about the situation of the displaced. The situation is critical. MSF has begun reinforcing its operations in Mogadishu and is assessing areas around the capital in order to adequately respond to this crisis,” said Dr. Unni Karunakara, International President of MSF.
Through a mobile clinic, MSF staff started to provide medical care to around 100 patients daily. The teams are also distributing of relief items, such as hygiene materials and plastic sheeting for temporary shelter.
For years MSF has been providing medical care in the capital, through health facilities in Daynile and Darkheley where more than 370 medical consultations were provided last week. To address the increasing medical needs, MSF will open inpatient therapeutic feeding centers, a measles treatment unit as well as a 50-bed cholera treatment center in Mogadishu in the coming days.
MSF has worked continuously in Somalia since 1991 and currently provides free medical care in eight regions. Over 1,400 Somali staff, supported by approximately 100 staff in Nairobi, provide free primary healthcare, surgery, treatment for malnutrition, as well as support to displaced people through health care, water supply and relief items distributions in nine locations in south and central Somalia.
MSF is also providing medical care to Somali refugees in Kenya (Dagahaley and Ifo camps) and Ethiopia (Liben). In Dagahaley camp, MSF is the sole provider of medical care for the 130,000 people and currently treating 6,400 children for malnutrition. In Ifo, MSF provides medical care to the 25,000 refugees gathered on the outskirts of the camp. In Liben, MSF is providing medical care in the six camps where 119,000 refugees are gathered. Here, more than 10,000 children are enrolled in nutritional programs.
More at the linkThis week, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has... more