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Updated: August 19, 2011 10:11 IST

Famine is spreading, says U.N.

Mark Tran
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It has declared famine in three more regions in Somalia, and calls on Somalis to work together to support the peace process.

Another three regions in Somalia are in famine, the U.N. declared on August 3 as it warned that the international humanitarian response to the crisis has been inadequate.

The U.N. said the prevalence of acute malnutrition and rates of mortality surpassed the famine thresholds in areas of Middle Shabelle, the Afgoye corridor refugee settlement and internally displaced communities in Mogadishu, the capital. The U.N. last month said two other regions in southern Somalia — Bakool and Lower Shabelle — were suffering from famine, defined as when acute malnutrition exceeds 30 per cent and when the death rate exceeds two per 10,000 a day.

About 450,000 people live in Somalia's famine zones, said Grainne Moloney, Chief Technical Adviser for the U.N.'s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit.

The U.N.'s food arm, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said famine is likely to spread across all regions of Somalia's south in the next four to six weeks, with famine conditions likely to last until December.

A humanitarian emergency exists across all other regions of southern Somalia, and there have already been tens of thousands, according to the U.N.

Till December

“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,” said the U.N.'s famine early warning system network. As a result, famine is expected to spread across all regions of the south in the coming four to six weeks and is likely to persist until at least December 2011. Continued efforts to implement an immediate, large-scale, and comprehensive response are needed.” Aid efforts have been hampered in the south as elements of al-Shabaab, the Islamist insurgents, have refused access to western relief agencies. Throughout Somalia, 3.7 million people are in crisis, with 3.2 million people in need of immediate, lifesaving assistance, 2.8 million of whom are in the south.

A senior U.N. official, on August 3 appealed to all Somalis, both inside and outside the country, to work together to support the peace process and alleviate the plight of those suffering from famine.

“This is a time of great crisis, but also of rare opportunity. It is a time for everyone to pull together to help those suffering and to work towards a better future for all,” Augustine Mahiga, the U.N. Special Representative for Somalia, said in a letter to the Somali diaspora. “I appeal to all those who are able — Somalis and the international community alike — to give as much as they can during this holy month (Ramadan) to feed the hungry, heal the sick and prevent the famine spreading further.” Mahiga noted that one of the contributing factors to the famine has been the fighting in the country and he criticised extremists for preventing the movement of people from the worst-hit areas.

“We call for the humanitarian agencies to be given unhindered access to all areas to provide desperately needed help,” he said. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2011

More In: Comment | Opinion | Sci-Tech

It is very unfortunate that US and other European Countries which profess universal brotherhood and liberal values with big brother attitude concentrate their resources in destablising unfriendly Oil Producing countries like Libya and Syria rather than extending helping the countries in destitude like Somalia.

from:  Bhupesh Chintamani
Posted on: Aug 17, 2011 at 23:07 IST

It is very unfortunate that US and other European Countries which profess universal brotherhood and liberal values with big brother attitude concentrate their resources in destablising unfriendly Oil Producing countries like Libya and Syria rather than extending helping the countries in destitude like Somalia. What can world community expect if not things like piracy from strife torn starving somalians in the light of glowing and growing inequalities spreading across the globe. This is high time that the world community should respond immediately to help out somalians in this crisis time to avoid further loss of lives otherwise it would be a shame on humanity as people dying of starving on such a mass scale

from:  B Srinivasa Raju
Posted on: Aug 5, 2011 at 13:51 IST

According to UNO World Food program reports East Africa is passing through worst drought of its history. Five countries are worst affected and more than ten million people are urgent need of food and water. Drought considers worst in last sixty years due to lack of rains and water people have lost everything and now migrating to other countries. Somalia and Kenya are worst affected from recent drought and things are going bad to worse every day. Four hundred thousand people have already migrated from Somalia to Kenya and now living in camps without any necessities of lives. Due to worst peace situation and continues fighting between government and Alshabab fighters aid agencies are not able to reach and provide and help to drought affected people specially in Somalia. Women and children are worst affected from recent drought and every one child out of five is facing risk of malnutrition and death. Some people walked four hundred kilometers for search of food and water. According to UNO World Food program after worst drought of sixty years world response is very slow and things are going bad to worse every day due to lack of funds and worst peace situation aid agencies are not able to reach drought affected areas. World modern countries, UNO, G8 are still sitting silent and doing nothing to bring any relief to dyeing humanity. UNO Security Council is shedding crocodile tears for US and French embassies who were attacked in Syria but doing nothing to provide any relief or aid package to ten million drought affected people in Africa which is very unfortunate.

from:  Khawaja umer Farooq
Posted on: Aug 5, 2011 at 09:27 IST
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