Is the world watching Somalia die?


Once again, Africa is hit by its most furious and merciless enemy: Hunger. It has killed over 260.000 people in Somalia, half of them children. The amount of food was not enough to cover the basic nutritional needs of that amount of people, and when the aid arrived, it was already late.

According to the UN News Center this happened because the international community did not act quickly enough. Due to the magnitude of the victims, half of them infanticide deaths, Philippe Lazzarini (Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia) had declared “we could have done more before the famine was declared” and in future terms “we need to ensure that Somalia never goes through another famine again”.

BBC sources let us know that more or less 4.6% of the total population and 10 % of the children under five died in southern and central Somalia. In lower Shabelle 18% of the children under the age of five died and in Mogadishu there were 17 %.

This famine is to be considered as one of the worst famines in over 25 years and the number of deaths this time surpassed the latest famine in Somalia in that occurred in 1991-1992 and about 250.000 people died in the famine due to drought and war.

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picture from politicalunbalanced

Even though this famine was declared to be over in February 2012 and the conditions are considerably better this sub-Saharan country still has got one of the highest rates of child malnutrition and infant mortality according to Ben Foot from the charity organization Save the Children.

The situation is so desperate that Somalia has urgently asked Uganda for some humanitarian help. The Somali government admitted its lack of capacity of providing food to 3.7 millions of its people in the south of the country; this is the reason why they asked for help to its neighbor country, Uganda, specifically providing food around their borders, in an attempt to avoid the escape of Somali citizens to Uganda, New Vision confirmed this information this week and also informed that the Uganda government is thinking of taking the lead and distribute itself the humanitarian aid.

Oxfam gave in a report the three main causes of what this famine happened:

1. A two year drought that has caused record food inflation. This with levels of malnutrition and premature mortality has caused a very quick famine.

2. The drought has killed off the cereal fields and has killed most of the cattle, leaving the population without enough resources.

3. The incapacity of the Somalia government of content the spread of the drought over the country.

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picture from redcross blog

The combination of these three causes plus the actual instability that it is installed in the country has favored the famine.

Once again, hunger has hit Africa and again the rest of the world is too late to help them. This issue has been going on for a long time and every time than an event of this characteristics  takes place the rest of the world that it is time to change things, but in the end it happens all over again.

Alberto Hernández, Andrés Escorial, Sandra Elorriaga, Jorge del Prado & Nathalie González

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