400 000 Somali kids at risk of death

2011-08-18 08:57

Mogadishu - Britain said on Wednesday that hundreds of thousands of children could starve to death in Somalia if the international community did not ramp up its response to the famine there.

Britain has already pledged more than £80m ($130m) to help tackle what aid agencies are calling the worst drought in decades to hit Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

The British government is expected to announce additional funding specifically to deal with the unravelling humanitarian crisis later on Wednesday, a diplomatic source said.

"We call today on other countries to put their shoulders to the wheel and ensure this dreadful famine ... does not claim up to 400 000 children," Andrew Mitchell, Britain's International Development Secretary, told a news conference in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Japan has also pledged about $600 000 worth of aid to the UN refugee agency to help famine victims at the Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya, home to 440 000 Somali refugees.

Mitchell's visit to Somalia, which is grappling to quash an Islamist rebellion that has hampered the delivery of food aid across swathes of its southern and central regions, was the first by a senior British minister since 1992.

Claims of food aid stealing

Somalia has been mired in violence and awash with weapons since the overthrow of Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. First warlords, then Islamist militants stepped into the power vacuum, reducing a string of Western-backed governments to impotence.

Earlier this month, however, the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab rebels pulled most of their troops out of Mogadishu, epicentre of their bloody struggle.

Their retreat effectively left the government in control of the entire capital for the first time since the civil war began in the early nineties, although Somali troops and African peacekeepers still encounter pockets of rebel resistance.

"[We discussed] the importance of taking the opportunity of using the withdrawal of al-Shabaab from Mogadishu to demonstrate what the TFG [Transitional Federal Government] can deliver," Mitchell said after meeting Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali.

It was imperative Somalia's government cracked down on graft, Mitchell said.

Somalia is among the world's most corrupt nations and in recent days has been hit by allegations that food aid intended for famine victims was being stolen and sold for a profit.

The UN World Food Programme said on Monday it was investigating claims of theft and sought to assure Somalis there would be no reduction in food aid flows.

"I want to tell the international community that we have a zero tolerance, zero tolerance, for any kind of government militia or any other Somali looting food aid," Ali said.

Thousands of refugees have been making the treacherous journey from the worst-hit drought areas, mostly under the control of rebels, to Mogadishu to seek access to food.

There they generally stay at one of several overcrowded makeshift camps in Mogadishu where cholera has broken out in parts of the capital as well as in other areas of the country.

The British charity Oxfam said it would begin airlifting 47 tons of water supply and hygiene materials to Mogadishu on Thursday to help more than 120 000 people get clean water.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  uk  |  somalia  |  east africa  |  east africa hunger  |  africa drought
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
26 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Delft - 20:37 PM
    Road name: R300 Southbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at Hindle Road
  • Wednesday Sir Lowry's Pass - 17:57 PM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.