Somalia Crisis Continues Amid Pleas for Donations to Prevent Starvation and Deaths
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Somalia Crisis Continues Amid Pleas for Donations to Prevent Starvation and Deaths

Mogadishu : Somalia | Aug 09, 2011 at 2:35 PM PDT
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AU peacekeepers kill 6 militants in Somali fighting CCTV News

Kenya is the receiving country for thousands of Somalia refugees. Camps designed and built for 90,000 now hold 400,000 people. But these are the fortunate ones who have at least survived the trip. Many died along the way from exhaustion, dehydration and hunger during the trek to escape their homeland.

The United Nations states $2.5 billion is needed, only $1 billion has so far been committed by donor nations.

The United Nations states it is moving on two fronts to counter the worsening food crisis in the Horn of Africa, with an immediate infusion of food in an area where 640,000 children alone are threatened with acute malnutrition, and longer-term steps to spark an agricultural recovery.

“It is vital that we not only save lives today but also save the livelihoods on which people's lives depend tomorrow,” said Rod Charters, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) senior emergency and rehabilitation coordinator for the region.

UN agencies are calling on donor countries, the private sector and individuals to urgently close a funding gap of nearly $200 million for the crisis, which has hit war-torn Somalia particularly hard.

Getting Food to Vulnerable Populations

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has provided aid to nearly 8 million people in the region in the past five weeks and is targeting 11.5 million out of more than 13 million people affected by the drought and famine, with governments and partners tending to the rest. Today it started a series of nine airlifts to Mombasa, Kenya, carrying a total of 800 tons of high-energy biscuits (HEBs), enough to feed 1.6 million people for a day.

The biscuits are being pre-positioned for onward delivery to vulnerable people throughout the region, where scores of thousands of Somalis are seeking relief in overcrowded refugee camps in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, both of which have also been affected by the crisis.

Preventing Childhood Malnutrition

In the next two months 2,000 tons of fortified food to fight acute childhood malnutrition, 2,000 tons of HEBs, and 10,000 tons of fortified cereal by air and road to Somalia. This follows an initial airlift of 86 tons to Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, enough to feed more than 30,000 malnourished children under age five for a month.

Food Agriculture Organization to hold summit August 18th.

Looking beyond the immediate crisis of saving the lives of the acutely malnourished, many of them children under five, the FAO will host a high-level meeting in Rome on 18 August to agree on steps to spark a short-term agricultural recovery, such as cash for work for agricultural and water harvesting, seed distribution, vaccination and animal feeding, irrigation and food storage.

African Union Steps Up Aid

WINDHOEK – The Namibian Government will donate $3.4 million as humanitarian assistance to Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. The number of people affected by drought in that region could top 11 million. In the face of this dire humanitarian situation, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union has launched an appeal to African governments to support the Somali people, reported in newera.com.

Somalia Rebels

CNN reports Somalia's transitional government announced Tuesday August 9, 2011 it has offered amnesty to al-Shabaab fighters in Mogadishu if they surrender and renounce violence.

The offer follows the retreat of the al-Qaida-linked group from the capital.

A spokesman for the group, which has been waging an insurgency against the government since 2006, said the withdrawal was for humanitarian reasons.

The United Nations has declared a famine in five areas of southern Somalia including Mogadishu.

"We withdrew because we want to save lives of the poor civilians but we will launch operations against government (and African Union) forces in the coming hours," said al-Shabaab spokesman Sheik Ali Mohamud Rage, reported by UPI. The African Union has asked member nations to support the Somalia people. Whether this will be interpreted as aggression by the rebels is yet to be seen.

Previously al-Shabaab has called the famine an invention and an excuse for occupation. It issued threats to aid agencies delivering food to afflicted areas.

Resources

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CNN

UPI

Global Post

Newera.com

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Somalia Refugees fleeing into Kenya and Ethiopia risk their lives to escape. Many do not survive the journey.
Dava Castillo is based in Clearlake, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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