Famine Ravages Somalia, Aid Groups Unable To Get In

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Somali women wait to receive rations at a camp in Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP)
Somali women wait to receive rations at a camp in Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP)

The United Nations has declared a famine in Somalia--but aid isn't getting to many of the millions of people that need it.

Parts of Somalia are controlled by an al-Qaeda-linked militant group that has said it will not allow aid organizations into many areas.

Meanwhile, the U.N. children's agency - one of the few groups that does operate in the area - said Friday that nearly 800,000 children are at risk of dying without urgent assistance.

The U.N. says it fears tens of thousands of people already have died in the country's famine, which has prompted Somalis to walk for days in hopes of reaching a refugee camp in neighboring Kenya.

Main factors that have lead to this crisis:

  • A historic drought: Oxfam says it's the worst in 60 years, and it has caused the price of grains and fuels to rise. Farmers are unable to meet the basic food needs of their herds, and animals are either dying off or are simply being abandoned.
  • Two decades of war have weakened the government's control over many portions of the country. Al-Shabab, an Islamic militant group aligned with al-Qaeda, controls much of the Southern part of the country where famine has been declared.

Ways to help:

The BBC contributed reporting to this piece.


  • Yusuf Garaad, head of the BBC's Somalia Service

This segment aired on July 22, 2011.


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