Somalia In Desperate Need Of Humanitarian Relief
Somalia, situated on the horn of Africa, is on the horns of a dilemma – looming famine. Unless this plight catches the eye of the world in the midst of the bigger headlines about the Russian/Ukrainian conflict, this impoverished nation’s pending disaster may go largely unnoticed. Martin Griffiths, the U.N. humanitarian chief declared about the war-torn, drought-ravaged Horn of Africa nation, “I have been shocked to my core these past few days by the level of pain and suffering we see so many Somalis enduring. Famine is at the door, and today we are receiving a final warning.”
Four failed rainy seasons have resulted in the worst drought in more than four decades. The drought has caused the already impoverished Somalis to leave their homes and trudge across the countryside in search of food and water. Always hardest hit in crises like this are the children. One out of every five will face deadly forms of malnutrition. Somalia depends heavily upon Russia and Ukraine for wheat. The war between these two nations has caused a surge in global grain, fuel, and fertilizer costs which have impacted some of the world’s poorest nations, including Somalia. The malnourished children are dying from otherwise preventable diseases. Desperate mothers watch their children die of hunger and thirst. Families can’t feed their cattle which is often the chief source of their ability to farm and care for their families.
Famine hit Somalia in 2011 when more than a quarter million people died, half of them under the age of 5. Compounding this tragedy is the persistence of a violent Islamic insurgency by al-Shabab militants across wide swaths of Somalia, impeding the efforts of relief workers to reach the areas hit by drought. The warning signs have been obvious that unless there is an intervention, the country will face the same disaster as it did in 2011. International intervention is desperately needed.