Millions facing misery in Somalia

2011-07-20 13:53
Dolo Ado - Struggling through parched bush and baking heat, Rahmo Mohammed brought her severely malnourished son Saeed to Ethiopia's Kobe refugee camp to save him.

That was three weeks ago, and he is still not better, his frail body too sick to accept medicine.

"He's getting worse. I would like to get him more medicine," his mother said sadly. "Even when they give him medicine, he will not take it."

Mohammed, along with tens of thousands of Somalis like her, walked for days in desperate search of relief from the extreme drought, the most severe food crisis in Africa for two decades.

Famine has hit two southern Somali regions, with up to 350 000 people affected there, the UN said on Wednesday.

Conflict-ridden Somalia is the worst affected nation, but the drought has hit parts of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti, with 12 million people needing emergency aid.

Saeed is one of 2 200 children receiving emergency feeding treatment from Doctors without Borders (MSF) at Dolo Ado, a dust-blown camp on Ethiopia's border with Somalia.

The camp has some of the highest malnutrition rates in the world, with a death rate of seven per 10 000 people, or seven times the normal rate, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

Horrendous situation


"The mortality rates are very, very high," said Jo Hegenauer, UNHCR's emergency co-ordinator.

"They haven't gone down yet, we're trying to reduce the number of people who are dying from malnutrition," he added.

But many of the children arriving at the camp are too malnourished to be saved, said Joe Belliveau, MSF manager for Ethiopia, Somalia and Somaliland.

"The fact that they're showing up in a state that is so far gone, [and] that with immediate, urgent medical attention they still succumb, indicates a horrendous situation," he said.

Those dying are being buried in simple graves beside the camp.

"The other day they found a lot of graves," said Takos Vassilis, an MSF nurse at the camp.

The UNHCR say the numbers of new arrivals are down from a few weeks ago, when up to 2 700 people were pouring into the camps every day.

But all three camps in the region are full, and the transit centre already holds over 10 000 people waiting for more permanent settlement.

New camp

A new camp is slated to open next week, Hegenauer said. "We should be able to move about 2 000 people a day into the new camp."

It will be the second new settlement established since late June when Kobe opened.

It took just three weeks before Kobe reached its capacity of 25 000, and people continue to arrive seeking food, medicine and shelter.

"We had nothing to eat, we needed to eat something, we had no food," said Raho Jimale, a mother of three, with her youngest strapped to her chest.

Jimale arrived exhausted in the camp on Monday after a week-long trek from Somalia.

Her family's crops had failed, and their 50-strong herd of goats had died.

Basic shelters


Her husband left three months ago in search of water but never returned, forcing Jimale to leave too.

"It was a difficult decision," she said, clutching a ration of high-nutrient biscuits.

Many arriving at the camp construct basic shelters of rags stretched over branches. For some, the camp provides relief.

"I came here to get food and beef, and as long as I am having these two, I will stay here," said Abdi Ali, another Somali refugee.

But others still struggle to get the medicine and aid they need for their families.

Sonto Hussein, a mother of five who left her disabled husband behind in Somalia, cradles her crying son who is sick with diarrhoea.

"He is still sick because he is lacking medicine," she said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    somalia  |  ethiopia  |  east africa  |  africa drought  |  east africa hunger
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

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
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Wine
 

You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Power and leadership are emphasized today. It is important to strategize and delegate well otherwise you may end up with too much...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.