Famine stalks southern Somalia

Famine stalks southern Somalia
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The UN has declared parts of Somalia to be in famine conditions due to a severe drought and an Islamic insurgency.

Close to 11 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are in urgent need of food, water, shelter and medical attention.

Two years of drought has wiped out livestock, the sole source of food and income. Tens of thousands of starving men, women and children are crossing into Kenya in the hope of finding help.

The five areas of Somalia in a state of famine are under the control of al-Shabaab, an Islamic group linked to al-Qaeda.

The militia harass and kidnap NGO’s and demand bribes from those delivering aid.

The leadership says it has declared an amnesty to allow supplies to be delivered across its territory.

The UN has called on donors to provide around 355 million euros until the end of the year, a call backed by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on a visit to India.

Clinton announced an additional 20 million euros in US aid on top of the 300 million in US assistance sent to the region this year.

Still the plight of those in the camps is desperate. One woman pleaded: “We are dying because we have no help, where is the United Nations? Where is the Muslim world? Please come to our aid, we are suffering a lot so the world should take action to save our lives.”

Aid agencies say that as many as 500,000 children are at risk of death in the Horn of Africa.

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