What Does the Future Hold for Somalia? BY walt6585 Today Somalia is suffering through the worst food shortage since 1992, when 300,000 Somalis died from starvations. On July 20, 2011, the United Nations declared Somalia in a state of famine and Somalia is recognized as the most serious food insecurity in the world with an estimated 3. 7 million people already being affected by the famine. Reports from UNICEF indicate one in five children are acutely malnourished. Executive director of UNICEF I-JK David Bull claims that “almost 500,000 children are suffering from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition” (“Malnourished Lives
Under Threat in Africa”). Sadly these are currently the highest malnutrition rates in the world and they continue to worsen. Two major factors that continue to escalate the crisis are the continuation of the drought, political instability due to Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabab controls over the government. Somalia’s climate is principally desserts with moderate temperatures in the north and hot in the south with high humidity, making it harder to grow crops in that area. The terrain is mostly flat with rising hills in the north. Somalia lies on the eastern coastline of the Indian
Ocean and Gulf of Eden known as Horn of Africa and only has one major port located at the capital, Mogadishu. Without rainfall in many areas of the Horn of Africa in two years, the country is suffering through a major drought. The New York Times reports this to be the worst drought in 60 years (“Food Crisis in Somalia” 1). Without water, the farmers have no source of income and the increasing prices of food make it even harder for people to survive. Many families are forced to leave in search of refugee camps in the neighboring countries, leaving what little they have behind, including ivestock if they have any left.
But the refugee camps can do little to help the starving because they are becoming over crowded, leading to problems of sanitation and spread of diseases. “In the settlements in Kenya about 370,000 people are crammed into a area meant for 90 people” (“Nigeria: The Somalia Food Crisis” 1). Food prices in Somalia have hit a record high. Prices have increased 450%-780% above the long- term trend since 2007. Somalia imports 60% percent of its food requirement such as rice and wheat, adding a bigger burden on the people because the price of freight transportation has increased.
Since 2011, there has been an increased number of pirate attacks on the international waterway surrounding Somalia. Causing freight ships to buy escorts in these waterways. In 2011 alone over a 100 pirate attacks have occurred resulting in fourteen ships and over 200 hostages being held hostage for ransom (“Somalia’s Growing Urban Food Security Crisis” 2). While there is no confirmation of a link between the pirate’s attack and Al-Shabab, European nations suspect that the pirate’s attack could be traced to Al-Shabab. The failure of Somalia as a nation can be trace back to Somalia having a weak central government.
Somalia hasn’t had an effective government since the President Siad Barre was overthrown in Somali Civil War of 1991. “Over the past few years, Somalia’s neighbors have tried to form an interim government bringing together various political and military groups, but the effort has failed to end the fghting,” reports Ugandan Journalist Wairagala never ending fghting, the country was once again ranked number one on the Failed States Index, provided by the Fund for Peace and published by the Journal Foreign Policy. Somalia was characterized as the poorest and most violent country in the orld.
According to the article, “For four years in a row, Somalia has held the No. 1 spot, indicating the depth of the crisis in the international community’s longest- running failure” (“The 2011 Index” 1). Without any government rule, the Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabab has risen to control the “southern region of Somalia, where the drought has been most severe. The 2 million people living in this region cannot get food aid, because Al-Shabab’s leadership, which brags about its close ties to Al- Qaeda, distrusts food-aid workers as spies,” states Robert Paarlberg, Professor of
Political Science at Wellesley College and Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University (“Famine in Somalia: What Can the World Do About It? ” 1). Even with the claims of close ties with A1-Qaeda, the United States is still hesitant to take actions against Al-Shabab because of the October 1993 Black Hawk incident. According to Paarlberg “two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu, 18 U. S. soldiers died, and the body of one dead American was dragged triumphantly through the streets. Public outrage forced President Clinton to erminate the mission” (“Fighting and Drought” 1).
The mission was known as Operation Restore Hope but the mission failed because many of the civilians resisted the aid of U. S. troop was trying to provide (“Wars Of Representation: Metonymy And Nuruddin Farah’s Links” 7). Since the incident, the U. S. hasn’t played a major role in aiding Somalia. In the past year Al-Shabab has turned their attention from raiding villages under their control to attacking international humanitarian agencies such as the United Nation World Food Programme (WFP), which feeds 1. 5 million people in Somalia and 300,000 people alone in the capital Mogadishu.
In July of 2009, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) had to suspend two agencies in the Yaqsid and Bakool area because of heavy fighting and explosions. One MSF employee died in an explosion along with 30 other people. These two agencies alone supported a 343- bed health centre that served a population of 250,00 people (“Fighting and Drought” 2). “This direct, deliberate, and sustained attack on aid organizations and aid workers is intolerable,” remarks Graham Farmer, acting UN humanitarian coordinator in Somalia (“Fighting and Drought” 1). He also adds to his comment that nine aid workers have already died since January of 2011. The issue and problem is Al- Shabab” (“Food Crisis in Somalia” 3), says Johnnie Carson, the assistant secretary for African Affairs at the State Department. With the constant threat of attacks it makes it difficult for humanitarian agencies to offer aid to the civilians. The United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative to Somalia, Rozanne Chortlon says, “in August the agency postponed the dispatch of hundreds of tonnes of life-saving nutritional supplies meant for the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition in ver 85,000 Somali children because of increased hostility towards aid organizations” (“Fighting and Drought” 2).
Even though Al-Shabab is targeting humanitarian agencies, the town’s people suffer the most from these attacks especially the children. If the international community wants to prevent the crisis from escalating to the same level of disaster that Somalia experienced in 1990’s, it been a catastrophic breakdown of the world’s collective responsibility,” (“Food Crisis in Somalia” 2) states Fran Equiza, a regional director at Oxfam, one of largest aid organizations. He continues his statement saying, “the warning signs have been seen for months, and the world has been slow to act” (“Food Crisis in Somalia”2).
The United States has already taken action by creating a government organization called Feed the Future in 2008. Feed the Future initially started out as a $22 billion project but was cut to $3. 5 billion as donators withheld their money due to the hardship faced in the 2010 economy (“Food Crisis in Somalia” 3). This project helps poor countries fght hunger by investing agricultural development into the countries. The United Nations, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has asked for a total of $1. 6 billion to fix the crisis and about $300 million of it is required within the next two months to mount to adequate response (“Somalia” 1).
This will not be all the money requires to totally fix the problem but this will go toward the United Nations plan to fix the problem. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization three-focus points: “(i) longer-term initiative in support of the countrys agriculture sector; (it) crisis mitigation and response to natural disasters; (iii) key information system that collect nd analyze data to inform decision-making and response planning for intervention of the humanitarian agencies” (“Somalia” 2).
Even with the United Nations plans to aid Somalia, it seems meaningless until Al-Shabab has been removed from the country. Works Cited Daily Trust “Nigeria: The Somalia Food Crisis” AllAfrica Global Media, 2011. Web. 16 March 2012. http://allafrica/stories. html FAO & Emergencies. “Somalia” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2012. Web. 14 March 2012. http:// www. fao. org/emergencies/country-information/list/africa/somalia/en/ Gettleman, Jeffrey. “Food Crisis in Somalia Is a Famine, U. N. Says” The New York Times, 20 July 2011.
Web. 16 March 2012. http://nytimes. com/2011/07/21/world/africa/ 21 somalia. html Holleman, Cindy. Moloney, Grainne “Somalia’s Growing Urban Food Security Crisis” Humanitaire, 22 July 2009. Web. 16 March 2012 http:// humanitaire. revues. org/index412. html “Malnourished Lives Under Threat in Africa” Nursing Children and young people 23. 7 sept. 2011. web. 16 March 2012. Mzali, Ines. “Wars Of Representation: Metonymy And Nuruddin Farah’s Links. ” College Literature 37. 3 (2010): 84-105. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 30 Mar. http://web. bscohost. com. nuncio. cofc. edu/ehost/detail Paarlberg, Robert. 2012. “Famine in Somalia: What Can the World Do About It? ” The Atlantic, web. 14 March 2012 http://www. the atlantic. com/international/archive. html Aug. 2012. “The 2011 Index. ” Foreign Policy. Issue 187, Page 48 July/Aug. 2011. Web. 16 March 2012 Wairagala, Wakabi. “Fighting and Drought Worsen Somalia’s Humanitarian cnsts” The Lancet, volume 374, Issue 9695, pages 1051-1052, 26 sept. 2009. web. 16 March 2012. http://www. thelancet. com/]ournals/lancet/article. html