It’s the worse that the Motherland has seen in years. The United Nations officially declared famine in regions of Somalia during a time when the food crisis in the Horn of Africa is increasing in devastation. Aid agencies believe that there needs to be a push for the free movement of food in the region in order to keep the crisis from worsening any further and promote its accessibility.
“The situation is getting worse,” said UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos in a statement Friday. “If we are to avoid this crisis becoming an even bigger catastrophe, we must act now.”
Affecting nearly 12 million people in the region, the famine in Somalia has been proclaimed the worst food security emergency in the world today.
Inaction would cause the famine to spread to all eight regions of Sothern Somalia within two months because of poor harvest and infectious disease outbreaks, Mark Bowden, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, stated.
East Africa is currently suffering through one of its most harsh droughts in 60 years. This along with rising food prices, 20 years of anarchy, inflation, and the country’s seemingly relentless conflict has dried up Somalia’s food supply and lead to nearly tens of thousands of malnutrition-related deaths in the past few months, the United Nations has reported. According to the agency’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, nearly $1.6 billion is needed to help restore the nation, with $300 million of it required in the next two months for emergency response.
What’s hindering emergency efforts in the region, as aid officials have relayed, is the fact that dozens of workers have been killed or terrorized by growing on-the-ground militant campaigns. American government prohibits material support to militants, who demand “taxes” (or extra money) for allowing aid delivery to pass through. Because the nation is unwilling to support dangerous activity, it makes international trade and aid a sticky situation for the African country.
But does anyone even realize this? Do people know what’s going on in our motherland?
It seems that the past few weeks our media has been plagued by the successes of a child-murderer (Casey Anthony), the death of a drug addicted soul stress (Amy Winehouse), and politicians bickering (debt ceiling deal). It’s not to say that the last isn’t actually important to our country because it is, but it always seems strange that in times of crisis or need for other nations, Africa seems to be the last continent on the list.
Africa has been hungry for years. If you ever wake up early enough on a Sunday morning you’ll see those paid programming commercials rolling—“save a child, save a life”. A continent that has seen more of its share of civil strife, governmental corruption, and at times ensue medical mayhem is in dire need now more than ever.
But turn on the television, flip through the biggest news sites, read your magazines, click on your Ipad and you will probably see—zilch. Nada. Very few big highlights unless you Google Somalia. The big time news organizations aren’t hoping up and down over the issue as they did with other less pertinent issues. And sadly, it always seems to be like that with developing nations. No one seems to care until the catastrophe exceeds catastrophe.
What do you see surrounding the Somalia food crisis.
Very little words. Very little movement. If anyone even notices at all.
Maybe, people think that famine is like white on rice for the continent. It too shall pass. We can only hope. But I hope more than anything that people will begin to wake up and see that the problem with Africa not only is brought on by the internal destruction formed politically within its parameters, but more importantly by the fact that the world in some sense seems to bat an eye and continue on with their daily doings, blind to the struggles happening below the Equator.
But don’t forget that this struggling African nation once built your empires, your world, your dreams. It’s time that more is done for those people who made our today possible. Even in the smallest of ways.
If you would like to learn more about how you can help, please visit UNICEF.