By Leah Baines
Six months after famine struck the Horn of Africa, leaving 12 million people at risk of starvation, the situation in Somalia is still dire. Although the designation of famine in some areas of the country has been lifted, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a collaboration of 14 leading U.K. aid agencies, says that there are four million people still in urgent need of aid in a drought that has already killed tens of thousands.
Women wait for food rations at Bondere Camp for Internally Displaced People in Mogadishu. (Photo credit: Brendan Paddy, Disasters Emergency Committee)
The famine designation has been lifted in the Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions in southern Somalia, but rates of malnutrition and death remain extremely high. Throughout the rest of the country, millions of people continue to suffer despite £75 million (approximately USD $115 million) in aid money raised recently by the DEC. Many have been forced to abandon their homes, and flee to refugee camps.
Islamic Relief, one of the DEC’s member charities is calling for “more international aid and an increased diplomatic effort,” so that those displaced and affected by the famine can receive the food supplies and medical attention they need and finally begin to rebuild their lives.
Security is an added issue in the region. Militants known as al Shabab have taken over major cities and interfered with the delivery of emergency food and aid supplies. Government and African Union forces are fighting to rid the Shabab from the region, to finally achieve peace and stability in a time of great distress.
Because the situation in Somalia is given little attention from the media and international community, millions of people remain victim to immense suffering. The famine is far from over, and those affected need help and support now more than ever.
Leah Baines is a research intern for the Nourishing the Planet Project.