Aid teams struggle to cope as Somali famine spreads
Friday 05 August 2011
The famine gripping parts of southern Somalia has spread to three more areas, with the entire south likely to be declared a famine zone within the next six weeks.
Acute malnutrition and death rates have surpassed famine thresholds in the Balcad and Cadale districts of Middle Shabelle, and among the refugee populations in Mogadishu and the Afgoye corridor, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation's Somalia food security unit.
"(The) current humanitarian response remains inadequate, due in part to ongoing access restrictions and difficulties in scaling up emergency assistance programmes, as well as funding gaps," the group said.
Much of southern Somalia is controlled by al-Shabaab Islamist militants, who last year banned food aid and kicked many aid groups out of the region, exacerbating the crisis.
Famine conditions were expected to persist across southern Somalia until the end of the year, the UN agency said. Each day hundreds of Somalis are streaming into squalid camps in and around Mogadishu, defying rebel orders not to leave their homes. The start of Ramadan two days ago coincided with a new offensive by peacekeepers and government forces against the insurgents and a rise in suicide attack threats.
The violence has compromised the delivery of emergency aid to some 100,000 refugees who have arrived in Mogadishu in the past two months, bringing the total to around 400,000.
"Local doctors came to us this morning and said two of my children are malnourished and anaemic. We were given a few days' worth of food but we have no shelter, not even plastic sheets," said Hawa Omar, a mother of seven. She is in a makeshift settlement of about 4,000 newly arrived refugees, six miles from the frontlines where government forces engage the rebels in daily gun battles.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said it was able to distribute relief through local networks but work to assess the needs of new arrivals had been slowed. "The plan was to start the assessments in about 10 other settlements in the coming days but all the movements have been restricted since the offensive," said Andy Needham of UNHCR Somalia.
Drought, conflict and a lack of food aid have left 3.6 million at risk of starvation in southern Somalia. The drought has affected about 12 million across the Horn of Africa.
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...