Somalia: The Status Quo is Starvation

After the official declaration of famine in Somalia in July, the extent of the problems have only grown more severe, now encompassing six of the eight regions in Somalia.

Malnutrition and death rates have surpassed famine thresholds in the Bay region of southern Somalia.  According to the UN, famine implies that at least 20% of households face extreme food shortages, acute malnutrition in over 30% of people, and two deaths per 10,000 people every day.   Though a definition seems as a shallow substitute to illustrate the severity of the situation, it seems that empty and half-hearted promises are all the aid that has been given, or will be given, to the Somali people.  With 4 million people in crisis, 75,000 of which are at risk of dying in the coming months, the new from the region is appalling.

53% of the population is unable to meet their daily food needs and approximately 12 million people are in need of some form of aid.  Aid, usually denoting relief and assistance, would serve to help instill some form of hope through stability and certainty.  However, out of the 12 million people in need, the promised aid has only been able to reach 1 million of those in need.  Besides the delay in foreign responses, or the lack of response in general, the problem of Somalia is encompassed towards a more fundamental chaos: anarchy.  Without a central authority to serve as a third power enforcer of stability, human rights and infrastructure of any sorts, the southern regions of Somalia have been claimed and plagued by al-Shabbab.  As a terrorist organization, the kindness and selflessness of such people is evident.  Nevertheless, illustrating the repulsive nature of such people needs to be as oft-repeated as possible to ensure that such acts can be combatted at any front and by any means. The al-Shabbab terrorist organization has blocked all forms of foreign involvement,be in financial or medicinal, from entering into most of southern Somalia.  Thus, the organization has effectively cut aid from reaching over 11 million people in dire need of such aid; condemning men, women and children to certain death.

“We may have to live with the reality that we may never be able to reach communities most in need of help.” – Dr. Unni Karunakara, the international president of Medecins Sans Fronteires.

Although it has become “common” to hear about starvation, the situation has not waned just because the attention of the international community has diminished. As media coverage of Somalia fluctuates, the use of “common” has been on the upsurge because starvation and death is apparently the status quo of Somalia and should not spark any sentiment from the international community.

At which point in the modernization of society has the value the human life deteriorated. Possibly the ability to kill millions with an atomic bomb had a large implication this, as well as the fanatical devotion to gore and death in all forms of game, and of course the popularity of observing gruesome deaths in movies like the Final Destinations.  The decay of society does without saying, but there can be no excuse for simple arrogance towards the thousands of children being buried on side trails as families flee chaos in hopes of a new life.

In retrospect, life for the Somali people has been characterized by chronic gun fights, anarchy, starvation, and death.  The past, the present and the future of Somalia will continue on a cyclical path unless a major step is taken in efforts to combat the humanitarian crisis.

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