16 March 2017

Somalia: Desperate Appeal Sees Even Queen Donate

An emergency appeal is being organised by Britain to raise money for the famine crisis in Somalia. The Queen has announced she'll make a personal donation, and aid agencies say the lives of a million children under five depend on the response.

In Somalia, desperate mothers and their babies wait for food in chaotic queues, knowing trouble is on its way. For some, the crisis has already arrived. It has consumed young Mohamed Hassan Ibrahim in a one- sided struggle - he's been barely a match for it.

"This is my first child, and I pray for him," his mother Habiba Ibrahim said.

The fact he's survived so far seems a miracle. If starvation itself is not the killer, it opens the door to so many others.

"Where I live, many people are starving. Most of my family have died from the cholera outbreak. I am the only survivor," Ms Ibrahim said.

"I've only been able to feed him on water and sugar. That's all I could give him until now."

The infection that has taken away Mohamad's eye-sight cannot be cured, but still, doctors say he has a fighting chance to live.

It's a chance so many mothers are fighting to give their children and Trocaire Aid Agency's Fatuma Mohamed says it's one of the worst catastrophes to hit the country.

"Our fear is that things will get worse, we will be having a lot of deaths, malnutrition rates will go skyrocketing," she said.

"There are suddenly thousands of mouths to feed,"

A three-year drought has turned the land into a dry and dusty death trap. Six years ago, famine killed a quarter of a million people, so in droves they've been leaving the desert.

Desperate times have prompted desperate journeys. Abdi wheeled his mother, who is 98, across 50 miles of sand.

"The river is empty, so there's no food, there's no milk, there's no anything. Zero," he said. So severe is this crisis that it overshadows the fear of Al-Shabab, through whose territory many have travelled despite the terror group's threats.

Worse spectres haunt the road. Maria's son is sick, the same fever that killed her young daughter along the way.

"It was terrible. We had nothing and no one to help us. Not even someone to help us dig a grave for the child," her grandmother said. At a clinic in Dollow, children are being fed and in many cases it's their first meal for many days. But the aid agencies say they're running out of money and the people are running out of time.


For Once, Mogadishu Can Watch World Cup With Little Fear

For years, residents of Mogadishu wanting to watch the World Cup on TV have done so at risk to life and limb. Islamist… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2017 Shabelle Media Network. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.