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EOTW: Famine Threatens Somalia and the Horn Of Africa

Radio Wammo: Eye On The World – With Glenn Williams & Selwyn Manning

Glenn Williams hosts Eye On The World, a weekly look at foreign affairs with Scoop's Selwyn Manning. This week: Famine Threatens Somalia and the Horn Of Africa Nations

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RUN-SHEET Eye On The World – July 12 2011.

The United Nations has warned that 10 million people in the Horn of Africa have been hit by the worst drought in 60 years.

The cause of this is: A poor rainy season coupled with rising food prices have led to severe food shortages in countries including Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda.

Of particular concern are the people inside Somalia.

The UN reports that the number of malnourished children in Somalia has increased from 376,000 to 476,000 in the first half of 2011.

Southern areas of Somalia have been under the control of Al-Shabaab, an insurgent groups aligned to Al Qaeda. It the area of Al-Shabaab's control are over 350,000 malnourished children.

Refugees are flooding out of the country UNHCR said on Monday that about 1,700 Somalis are arriving daily at the Dollo Ado area in southeast Ethiopia, while in neighbouring Kenya about 1,400 people a day reach the overcrowded Dadaab refugee camp.

WITH AUDIO: UNHCR's David Magolo spoke to BBC:
0:48 to 1:04


For many who remember the famine that struck Ethiopia in 1984-85, the United Nations is saying this Horn Of Africa famine is more severe.

WITHOUT AUDIO: Footage of malnourished children
1:04 TO 1:37


VOICEOVER: As sad as it is to see the degree of suffering these children are experiencing, these children are the ones where have made it to camps where help and assistance is on hand. Many others inside Somalia are in desperate need of aid and assistance, and thousands are at risk of perishing.

*******

Like other agencies, Reuters is reporting how drought is causing widespread famine:

WITH AUDIO: Footage of herders
1:26 to 2:00


That was part of a Reuters report on the situation.

*******

Agency France Press reports that people are dying of hunger while fleeing serious drought in Somaliarned that aid efforts could be overwhelmed by large numbers of malnourished refugees.


WITH AUDIO LOW VOLUME: Al-Shabaab insurgents
0:15 to ...


Al-Shabaab insurgents are fighting to overthrow the restorative government of Somalia. Currently, the group controls most of the southern and central parts of Somalia, including Mogadishu.

It had earlier "declared war on the UN and on Western non-governmental organizations" that distribute food aid in Somalia. In 2008 and 2009, this group killed 42 relief workers in Somalia.

The United States and western security agencies believe it has close ties to Al Qaeda.

On Saturday, Al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia agreed to lift their ban on international aid.

This led to the UN refugee agency head urging aid agencies to cut deals with the Al-Shabaab group to deliver aid to starving millions in Somalia.

The "absolutely appalling" suffering in Somalia meant talks must be opened with "all the actors" involved to bring food to those who need it, according to Antonio Guterres, the UN's high commissioner for refugees.

But as CNN has reported, the U.S. wants to test claims by Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked group Al-Shabaab that it will lift a ban on relief organizations to avoid a humanitarian disaster

********

The United Nations estimates 2.8 million Somalis need emergency aid. There are currently about 1.5 million internally displaced people, and the drought conditions have driven thousands of Somalis over the border into Kenya and Ethiopia.

In this Al Jazeera report Antoine Froidevaux, from Medecins Sans Frontieres, says more than 12 million people in the entire Horn of Africa are facing starvation.

WITH AUDIO: Footage of the plight of the people from the Horn of Africa
0:40 to 1:01


The United Nations states: Daily, 100 children die of malnutrition in Somalia. And every day 60,000 people are displaced inside the Horn of Africa – those figures are official and sourced from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has launched an urgent appeal, telling the international media that a “human tragedy of unimaginable proportions” is about to unfold if more help is not provided.

*******

FOOTNOTES:

As the BBC reported this week: Somalia has been without an effective central government since President Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991.

Years of fighting between rival warlords and an inability to deal with famine and disease have led to the deaths of up to one million people.

Comprised of a former British protectorate and an Italian colony, Somalia was created in 1960 when the two territories merged.

ENDS

Eye On The World broadcasts on KiwiFM and Radio Wammo at 7:40am on Tuesdays. Video on demand episodes also webcast on Scoop.co.nz.

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