Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mass starvation in Somalia

There is no food, no water, kids are dying and adults are tumbling, heart breaking pictures and heart wrenching incidents… this is the brief portrait of Somalia. I used to feel sad about Somalia where the place of pirates, private armies and poverty and now it’s experiencing severe famine. I will make known to you some pathetic famine incidents …

A mother walking, arrives at the clinic, takes her baby off her back and finds it has died without her knowing.

Her five children were with her, but the youngest ones - aged two years and five years - died on the way. She said she abandoned their bodies along the roadside because she was too weak to dig graves.

“We were hungry and couldn't get work. We traveled as a family but soon after we arrived my husband died, leaving me a widow and my children without a father. I just need help — anything."

The UN declared famine in Somalia and some other east African countries like Ethiopia and Kenya and it estimates that it’s going to effects millions of people. Nearly 400000 of people are leaving their homes, traveling to camps in search of food and water,some of them are crossing the borders to reach the survival camps which are located in Ethiopia and Kenya and still 80% of people are unable to access the humanitarian aid. The militant groups are blocking the aid organizations' food deliveries, so the survival aid camps are held at secured regions. thousands of people are being raped,killed by militant groups, bandits while journeying to refuge camps. The country is already lawless and now became chaotic due to famine, the aid food has been looted and sold in markets for profits. Humanitarian organizations are not willing to work directly in Somalia because some of their workers got killed by the clan war groups.

Basically Somalia is arid environment,year around severe hot conditions and irregular monsoons, agriculture is very limited and most of the lively hood is on nomadic herding.The problem with Somalia is the unstable government, militants groups which are keeping the country miserable, THE TRANSITIONAL FEDERAL GOVERNMENT(TFG) doesn't have total control over the country and some clan's militia groups like Al-Shabab are dominating in most of the region.

This drought is not the first time and it has been repeating for every few decades, I think 20 years ago Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya have experienced the same kind of famine but now they are not as bad as Somalia. Ethiopia and Kenya have some sufficient investment in agriculture and foreign food grants which were helped them from starvation, as we know that some Indian agriculture companies also invested in Ethiopia and Kenya. Adequate investment in agriculture is the long term solution for famine and better agriculture practices, capacity development, economic developments are path to peace and prosperity.

The United Nations has made an emergency appeal for $2.4 billion,United States has contributed $580 million so far and other African and gulf countries are helping. I have an Idea that India has been holding excess wheat/rice stocks above the Strategic reserves I.e around 70 million tons and upcoming crop season is going to add another 20 million tones. Especially in Wheat, India harvested bumper crop and the current stocks were two seasons old, the Government is not allowing exports since 2007 and wheat prices are not so attractive in international markets. So the best way is to give the old wheat stocks to UN aid for Somalia on humanitarian grounds instead of rotting in FCI warehouses. It's not only going to help to Somalia's starving but also for Indian farmers to get the support price for their upcoming harvest.

However....I wish all Somalians will have better living conditions, peace and democracy.

Pic courtesy: