Coming up

Don't miss




No strategy and a beige suit

Read more


The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more


The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more


Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more


France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more


Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more


More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more


Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • EU leaders choose Tusk and Mogherini for top jobs, discuss Russia sanctions

    Read more

  • Dozens of UN peacekeepers still held by Syrian jihadists

    Read more

  • Opposition protesters clash with Pakistani police outside PM's house

    Read more

  • Austerity row overshadows French Socialist’s annual rally

    Read more

  • Egypt sentences Brotherhood leader Badie to life

    Read more

  • Ceasfire allows Gaza families to relax on the beach

    Read more

  • S. Africa condemns 'military coup' in Lesotho

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more


Somalia famine spreads to three new regions

Video by Mark Thompson

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-08-08

The United Nations said Wednesday that famine has spread to three more regions of Somalia, warning that acute malnutrition is expected to persist across the southern part of the country through the end of the year.

REUTERS - The famine gripping parts of southern Somalia has spread to three new areas of the country, with the entire south likely to be declared a famine zone within the next six weeks, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

Acute malnutrition and death rates surpassed famine thresholds in the Balcad and Cadale districts of Middle Shabelle, and among the refugee populations in Mogadishu and the Afgoye corridor, said a statement from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Somalia food security unit.

« (The) current humanitarian response remains inadequate, due in part to ongoing access restrictions and difficulties in scaling up emergency assistance programs, as well as funding gaps, » said the statement.

Much of southern Somalia is controlled by al Shabaab Islamist militants who last year banned food aid and kicked many aid groups out of the region, exacerbating the drought crisis.

Famine conditions were expected to persist across southern Somalia until the end of the year, the statement said.

Caught between famine and fighting

Each day hundreds of drought-hit Somalis are streaming into squalid camps in and around Mogadishu, defying rebel orders to stay put and walking into a war zone.

The start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan two days ago coincided with a new offensive by African peacekeepers and government forces against the insurgents and a jump in rebel suicide attack threats.

The violence has compromised the delivery of emergency aid to some 100,000 refugees who have arrived in Mogadishu in the last two months, bringing the total to around 400,000.

France 24 speaks to Assed Baig from Islamic Relief, 03/08/11

« Local doctors came to us this morning and said two of my children are malnourished and anaemic. We were given a few days worth of food but we have no shelter, not even plastic sheets, » said mother-of-seven Hawa Omar within sight of the airport.

Omar spoke to Reuters in a makeshift settlement now home to an estimated 4,000 newly arrived refugees, about 10 km (6 miles) from the front lines where government forces engage the rebels in daily gun battles.

She was among several camp dwellers who said they had not received any help from international agencies, only residents.

The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, said it was able to distribute relief through local networks but its work assessing the needs of new arrivals had been slowed.

« The plan was to start the assessments in about 10 other settlements in the coming days but all the movement’s been restricted since the offensive started, » Andy Needham, spokesman for UNHCR Somalia, told Reuters in Nairobi.

Worst drought in decades

Drought, conflict and a lack of food aid have left 3.6 million people at risk of starvation in southern Somalia. The drought, the worst in decades, has affected about 12 million people across the Horn of Africa.

The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed Washington’s move on Tuesday to relax rules imposed on charities operating in al Shabaab-controlled regions of Somalia, aimed at boosting the amount of relief reaching those areas.

When Washington placed the al Qaeda-affiliated group on its list of known terrorist outfits, aid groups whose operations accidentally benefited the rebels risked prosecution.

« Certain organisations will be more relaxed. It should enable humanitarian aid to get closer to those who need it most, » said WFP spokesman David Orr, whose organisation was forced to suspend operations in southern Somalia in early 2010.

Al Shabaab leaders have given conflicting signals about whether aid programmes would be allowed to resume.

Orr said that WFP, which still cannot operate in southern Somalia, remained concerned food aid could end up in rebel hands if its distribution was not properly monitored. 

Date created : 2011-08-03


    Heavy fighting erupts in famine-stricken Mogadishu

    Read more


    Another famine, another humanitarian band-aid

    Read more