by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
According to reports from CNN, “the World Bank has pledged more than $500 million for famine victims in Somalia as the United Nations met in emergency session Monday to address the aid response in Somalia, the hardest-hit nation in the region.” Robert B. Zoellick, the World Bank President, released a public statement saying, “Immediate relief and recovery is the first priority, and it is important to act fast to reduce human suffering.” The UN reports that over 12 million people are suffering from the famine, and that includes two regions of Somalia.
Some officials believe that better preventative measures could have been taken to prevent such devastation with adequate preparation on the part of government leaders. Barbara Stocking, the chief executive of Oxfam, states:
“World leaders have no excuses for not generously responding…This should not be happening. It is a colossal outrage that the warnings went unheeded, that the lessons of previous famines have been ignored. Yes, we need to save lives today, but we also need to ensure that people have a future. Above all, we need to build a global food system that allows everyone enough to eat.”
Josette Sheeran, the executive director of the World Food Program says, “Women have been telling us throughout the area that they’ve had to leave children along the road who can’t make it, who are too weak to make it and have died along the way.” Striving to prevent any more of this from happening, it still remains true that distributing food in areas within proximity of the militant Islamist group Al-Shabaab is risky. Sheeran says that despite this, they are willing to do what they can to try to get people the help they need. Al-Shabaab is recognized by the U.S. as a terrorist group, and they do not like foreign-aid agencies helping their people because they feel they are “Western spies and Christian crusaders.” In precaution, the World Food Program has airlifted goods to Dolo which borders Ethiopia.
As conditions worsen, relief agencies are expediting efforts and figuring out ways to supply supplements to regions that are suffering the most. CNN reports, “About 60% of the Somali population is not getting aid, [according to] Sheeran. Aid groups are hoping to reach Somalis in the country before they flee to overcrowded camps in Kenya and Ethiopia for help.”
Ayvaunn Penn is the founder of Your Black Poets and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. To inquire about her freelance editing services, click here. To like Ayvaunn on Facebook, click here.