Somali refugees during the famine/FAO Somalia

Somali refugees during the famine/FAO Somalia

Around 258.000 people died in the famine in Somalia between October 2010 and April 2012, in part because the international community did not act quickly enough, the top United Nations humanitarian official in the country said this week. Some 133,000 of the Somalis who perished  were children under five.

All this data are in a study carried by  FAO’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia (FSNAU), along with the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), according to a press release of the UN.  Calling the magnitude of the mortality figures “unsettling”, Philippe  Lazzarini, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia said the report confirms

“that we could have done more before famine was declared on 20 July 2011” and that it will help ensure “that Somalia never goes through another famine again.”He added that “warnings that began as far back as the drought in 2010 did not trigger sufficient early action. In the worst affected areas, access to people in need was tremendously difficult”.

In this times when weather predictions are so accurate and can preview the path of a Hurricane the coming of a rain or a drought that in some areas can produce a famine like this one is very important to apply this means to the poor countries more vulnerable to natural disasters to prevent, if its possible, so many unknown deaths, despite the difficulties. According to the study, in this case, at the peak of the crises, between May and August 2011, about 30,000 excess people died per month. All this figures are impressive but I think we have to begin to think about them as human beings starving to death because they live in a Country that is extremely poor that doesn’t have resources and doesn’t know exactly what’s to live in peace and stability.

And then is the everlasting problem of the help compromised by more lucky countries that never arrives in their totality despite in this case the UN says that “a massive mobilization of the humanitarian community helped mitigate the worst effects of the crisis, once famine was declared”.  Since then, the UN community and its partners have changed the way it operates, Mr. Lazzarini said,

“With 2.7 million people still in need of life-saving assistance and support to build up their livelihoods, we are redoubling efforts to invest in Somalia’s people and communities to break the cycle of crisis and response.” “We are seeking ways to bridge humanitarian and development work which will be crucial to consolidating the resilience of Somalia’s people and communities,” he added, according to the note of the UN.

But is also important to work for peace in all vulnerable areas to make sure that the help can reach the people in need and the aid workers can do their job without risking their lives, one of the big problems in this case. But also is a key to save more lives, because war kills innocent people through the violence itself, but also is a cause of famines among displaced people, refugees, trapped people in cities under siege, or exposed to terrorists attacks by extremists groups.

About Olga Brajnović

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.


Africa, Dialog and diplomacy, Ethics, Ideals, Justice, World and Politics


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