“The statistics can be mind-numbing, but remember that the data is sons and daughters. The statistics are little boys and little girls, every one of them,” said Anthony Lake, executive director of UN Children’s Fund, adding that the situation in Somalia was a “human disaster becoming a human catastrophe.”
“In addition to the tens of thousands of Somalis who have already died as a result of the drought-induced famine, which has been exacerbated by conflict and poverty, an estimated 390,000 children are suffering from malnutrition. Four fifths of them are in the worst affected areas of the country’s south-central zone,” the UN high official stressed.
**Imminent Death Approaching Thousands Of Daughters And Sons**
“In some areas there we are seeing already historically high rates of severe acute malnutrition… which means that the number of children in that zone facing imminent death is approaching 140,000 children,” said Lake on August 19th, 2011.
“The crisis will get worse,” he said, “There will be no major harvest until the beginning of next year and those are predicted to be below average.”
**Milk And Maize Prices, 200 Per Cent Higher**
Meanwhile, new record highs in food prices “are exacerbating famine and hardship for the estimated 12.4 million people in the region who are facing severe food shortages and famine in some parts of Somalia,” the UN says.
According to the August 2011 food price monitor of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the high prices of cereals such as sorghum and maize in the Horn of Africa have resulted from a combination of factors, including drought, reduced secondary season harvests earlier this year and high fuel prices that have driven up transport costs.
In Somalia, where famine has been declared in five areas in the south-central region, the prices of sorghum and maize are 150 and 200 per cent higher, compared to July last year, according to the FAO report.
In Somalia southern region where some parts are experiencing famine conditions, milk prices in June were twice the levels of the similar period year earlier.
**Not Only Drought; Death Was Already There**
The new emergency in Somalia –as well as in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya– has been this time caused by a severe drought affecting the Horn of Africa.
But drought only adds to an already desperate humanitarian situation.
For instance, over a year ago, of Somalia’s 9.5 million inhabitants, a total of 1.4 million were already internally displaced, over 570,000 were refugees dispersed in the region and nearly 3 million people were dependent on humanitarian aid, let alone the tens of thousands of civilians dead and injured.
This side of humanitarian disaster, which is tragically common to all war-torn countries and areas, was already there. Still it continues to be ignored.
**Killing People Is More Profitable Than Saving Them?**
Apparently, the business of killing people is more interesting for politicians and more lucrative for marked-based economies than saving lives. It should suffice to remind that the world spends over 1,6 trillion dollars a year on its war machinery.
By way of reminder, it may be useful to re-quote now Al-Jazeera’s Andrew Wander, who reported on April 19, 2010: “Fighting, death and destruction on the streets of the Somali capital is nothing new; but now human rights groups are warning that civilian suffering is being fuelled by weapons shipments from the very countries that say they want to bring peace to Somalia.”
The U.S. government shipped around 40 tonnes of weapons and ammunition to the transitional government last year, including mortar rounds, in a bid to bolster its beleaguered position in the face of increasingly powerful armed opposition groups like Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, according to Wander’s report.
“The U.S. believes the armed groups fighting to topple the government have ties to al-Qaeda and have been alarmed by their takeover of vast swathes of the country,” he said.
“But government forces, and the African Union troops who are tasked with supporting them, have used the weapons to commit what human rights groups say are clear breaches of the laws of war.”
**Where Is The UN Security Council?**
The ongoing severe drought and civil war in central Somalia has left 70 percent of the population in the region in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
Six consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall, now aggravated with severe drought, have not only forced people to hunger and displacements –they have also decimated livestock herds and forced many pastoralists to gather in towns and villages in search of assistance, while 390,000 children are starving.
Remember–they are not simple statistics–’they are sons and daughters’.
The UN Security Council has repeatedly proved to be efficient and quick when it comes to launching military operations and “freedom” wars—see the war on Afghanistan, the war Iraq, the wars on terrorism, etc, and the massive air strikes on Libya to accelerate the fall of its sanguinary dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Any chance that the Security Council declares a “War on Hunger”? Or is it too busy now securing the Libyan oil and ‘reconstruction’ big business –let alone future weapons deals? (Human Wrongs Watch)
– UN Security Council Or World Military Junta?:
– Record Highs In Food Prices In Hungry Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya And Somalia:
– ‘The Most Severe Food Crisis In The World And No One Is Helping’:
– That Big Business Called Libya!: