Somalia: Malnourished and Cholera

In the last two months, it has been estimated that over 30,000 Somali babies have died of hunger and disease in a Kenya refugee camp near Dabaab.

“My eyes refuse to shed tears. We come from God and thus we return to God”  – Somali mother

Grim faced but with no tears, mothers ar seen burying their children all along the grounds of the refugee camp. Yet, the matters only seem to get worse for the Horn of Africa. Despite the al-Shabbab terrorist organization agreeing to withdrawal and allow the passage of international aid into Somalia, the amount of aid is still only a sliver of what is needed, according to the Mercy Corps.  As depicted by the Mercy Corps, a Portland-based international aid agency, the assistance being brought to Somalia is internationally widespread, but with 1.5 million people having been displaced in southern Somalia alone, with about 500,000 of those squatting in Mogadishu,the aid must be more substantial.

Moreover, the high counts of malnourished is not the only problem that has grown to hamper both the Somali people and international aid organization.  A cholera outbreak, along the lines of the one in 2007, has broken out and intensified in Mogadishu.  According to the World Health Organization, 4,272 cases of cholera  have been reported since January and these reports are coming from Banadir, only a single hospital in Mogadishu. With 3.6 million people at risk of starvation in Somalia alone, 12 million throughout the Horn of Africa, the outbreak has only made matters much worse, especially considering that reports have stated it has spread to another 4 regions outside of Mogadishu.

“I have never ever seen so many people so close to death.  Kids are definitely starving. There is no doubt.” – Cassandra Nelson, Mercy Corps aid worker.

Why is this happening again?

Somalia’s endless agony is caused by their lack of leadership, a central structure to provide organization and reassurance.  Somali politicians have only narrowed their goals to merely seeking publicity and scrambling for a few dollars through their divisive politics, policies that have already left Somalian lands resembling small pockets of clannish enclaves.  The people are now yearning for unity and the building of a nation. Illustrated in the “Arab Spring”, informational opportunities can come in the form of pain.  There are many Somalis who truly want to win peace.  The international aid being brought to Somalia is only a short-term solution.  The people of Somalia need a functional infrastructure, in short, the need a new government.

As always, social networking has become a useful asset to activists, including some in Somalia.  The new generation, activists seeking change, have created hundreds of Facebook groups seeking a return to a peaceful era in Somalian history.  The new generation can overcome the grudges that have formed from the Civil War that left the country in shambled in the 90s.  So saying, the formation of that government in 1945 came without any political blueprint, only the actions taken by the Somalian Youth League. If history should every repeat itself, the creation of another functional government (hopefully longer and lasting and without corruption…much to ask for) should come again.

The starving people of Somalia, on the verge of death, have the motivation and the reason to rally but they need leadership, a person who will not compromise their core values of putting country first, caring for the weak and the orphans of Somalia.


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