Somalia Braces for Famine, Trapped Between Al Shabab and Drought – The New York Times

Chief Africa correspondent Declan Walsh and photographer Andrea Bruce reported this article from Baidoa, Somalia, a city threatened by militants.

“The sea of rag-and-stick tents that spreads in every direction from the hungry, embattled city of Baidoa, in southern Somalia, gives way to sprawling plains controlled by the militants of Al Shabab.

Over 165,000 refugees have streamed into Baidoa since early last year, fleeing the ravages of Somalia’s fiercest drought in 40 years. Among them was Maryam, a 2-year-old girl whose family had lost everything.

The drought withered their crops, starved their animals and transformed their modest farm into a howling dust bowl. They endured a five-day trek to Baidoa, braving Islamist check posts, hoping to reach safety.

But one recent afternoon Maryam, weak from hunger and sickness, began to cough and vomit. Her mother, cradling Maryam in her arms, called for help.”

Somalia is on our minds. We watched a PBS NewsHour a few nights ago, and they showed an emaciated infant in somalia, looking far more dead than alive. We are tough old birds, but this was almost more than we could stomach. It definitely infringed on dinner. This article is more gentle, there are no such pictures. But Somalia is on our minds. Here are the top comments, which I endorsed:

Peter Johnson
London

Extreme weather is not the whole story for Somalia’s food shortages. The population has more than quadrupeled in the last fifty years (from 3.48 million to 16.6 million), and agricultural productivity cannot keep up.

4 Replies50 Recommended

joe
St Louis

Starvation in Africa was a staple of late night TV solicitations back when I was growing up in the 70’s. 50 years later nothing has changed. Tribal warfare, a population that can’t feed itself, and not using birth control are not going to be made any better by charity. If people want change than something fundamental needs to change.

Reply34 Recommended

Silas Campbell
Paris, Kentucky

Completely omitted from this article is the fact that the number of people in Somalia has grown from about 2 million in 1950 to about 17 million now, i.e. there are over 8 times as many Somalis as in 1950. Could it possibly be that this exponential rise in the number of people needing resources has anything to do with the famine ?

Reply28 Recommended

mushmouth
Jacksonville

what these poor people need is systematic and free birth control. and then classes on how to use it. why would you bring children into a famine situation?

Reply27 Recommended

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