Some Aid Trickles Into Somalia, Surrounded by Death and Disease – NYTimes.com

Humanitarian crises can make the headlines–especially if there are cruel and horrifying images accompanying the catastrophe.  But Somalia appears to be a story that is losing attention, even as things continue to spiral downward with failed politics, ineffective governance, and a lawless operating environment for NGOs.  Jeffery Gettleman explains:

As the East Africa correspondent for The New York Times, my assignment has been to chronicle the current famine in Somalia, one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the last two decades, hitting one of the most forlorn and troubled countries in modern times. My job is to seek out the suffering and write about it and to analyze the causes and especially the response, which has been woefully inadequate by all accounts, though not totally hopeless.

via Some Aid Trickles Into Somalia, Surrounded by Death and Disease – NYTimes.com.

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2 thoughts on “Some Aid Trickles Into Somalia, Surrounded by Death and Disease – NYTimes.com

  1. ktvaneaton says:

    The situation in Somalia is complicated. However, I am beginning to wonder if I am just saying that because I feel guilty about largely ignoring it. Perhaps the problem is persisting due to compassion fatigue or maybe it is exactly as Carolyn Miles, president of Save the Children, suspects. She explains, “I don’t think Americans understand the scale of this disaster.” I think she may be right. Surely people would do something if they knew if were that bad, right? This has been a somewhat slowly developing problem that people may be to the point of simply ignoring and/or taking for granted. Rachel Wolff explains that “‘rapid-onset disasters,’ like a sudden earthquake, tend to get more attention and more donations. And Somalia’s crisis was hardly rapid. This was a catastrophe 20 years in the making.”
    20 years is almost my entire life and much longer than most people are able to pay attention to any given problem. Perhaps we take it for granted that Somalia has always been a disaster. This is particularly true of the generation that could potentially help the most (ours). Why would any one of us be inclined to help solve a problem that seems unsolvable? Oftentimes the culprit has been identified as the drought, which no one can end. However, this is not the largest issue keeping food from Somalians (see link below).
    Maybe we purely feel helpless as the Shabab continue their ruthless reign. For those of us who understand the magnitude of the problem and the more likely causes, there may be a military solution lurking in the back of our minds. But who wants to upset yet another extremist militant group that already hates the West? Not I. The U.S. probably cannot be the first to suggest involvement either, even if they wanted to.
    And so we sit here and try not to think about as hundreds of people die every day. It makes me wonder why the UN has not done more to help, especially when they predict that “750,000 could soon starve to death.” Are we simply staying out of it to protect Somalia’s sovereignty or is there something else going on? Is the Shabab really so powerful that the rest of the world will stand by as tens of thousands die or are we merely unconcerned because the city is burning down on the other side of the river?

    http://www.owen.org/blog/4818
    http://www.owen.org/?s=Somalia&x=0&y=0

  2. dsanchez86 says:

    The current state of this country is heartbreaking with an Islamist extremist group called the Shabab outlawing western aid organizations that are desperate to get into the country and help the people. Basically the Shabab signed a prescription for death for their own people, along with outlawing things like music, and soccer. The results could truly be Biblical in proportions as analysts anticipate that 750,000 men, women, and children could die from starvation. Banned aid organizations aren’t giving up, however, with some trying to team with Turkish groups and Muslim aid organizations in order to get in and make a difference.
    With all the hardships in Somalia, there may be a beacon of hope as some Somalis in Mogadishu returned to a popular beach, just months after the African Union expelled most of the Shabab from Mogadishu. Somalis are returning to the beach to enjoy a little fun in the sun. The overdue R and R isn’t without risk as suicide bombings have still rocked the city. Still, in a country that has had more than its fair share of suffering and struggle, seeing people enjoying themselves is something special.
    Check out this article:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/08/world/africa/somalis-cautiously-return-to-normal-life-and-the-beach.html?ref=somalia

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