DISASTER STRIKES SOMALIA AGAIN
BY M.M. Afrah©
now and then life throws a curve ball at Somalia.
Disaster strikes the country again, and the world community,
as we know it, drag its feet to help the drought-stricken
people of Somalia. It seems to have come to a sudden halt.
Drought combined with unending clan warfare blows the
people in a larger scale, effecting thousands and even
millions of the long suffering people.
is the case when severe drought struck several regions
in Somalia and the Somali inhabited Northern Frontier
Province (NFP) of Kenya.
footage stunned the world as the media shared the events
with many Somali websites in the Diaspora in the weeks
that followed the appalling event. We grieved as the death
climbs. We expected an overwhelming response from the
world community, for the most part from the oil-rich countries
in the Arab world, but they refused to open their fat
wallets to do whatever they could to assist the survivors,
even after Al-Jazeera showed the extend of the drought.
In its prime time footage, it showed the few surviving
ones who lost something they can never get back-family,
loved ones and livestock. Also several Western news agencies,
like Reuters, AFP and others highlighted the plight of
the victims, but as usual there were no response from
the wealth countries.
am certainly not fan of foreign aid, but there are all
kinds of humanitarian agencies, or NGOs (Non-Governmental
Organizations), that deal with disasters, give them emergency
food aid, clean drinking water, temporary shelters and
medication in order to create a health environment.
should be remembered that Somalia has been prone to all
kinds of disasters, drought, wars, man-made famine, cyclone
and flooding since independence in 1960, but the civilian
governments of the day, despite sucking up the gravy,
and few blunders, they at least got it right by acting
quickly and appealing to the world community for relief
for the thousands struck by the notorious drought dubbed
as Abaartii Daba-dheer.
military regime led by General Mohamed Siyad Barre did
more or less the same as soon as subsequent disasters
hit the country.
the hare-brained "leaders" meeting in Baidoa,
the City of Death, 1991/1993, relegated the prevailing
drought in many regions of the country to the back burner
and the survivors are left to die en mass.
are, of course, points on which the NGOs and real citizens
frequently rise-lack of security which hampers emergency
food aid to the needy, after one of their expatriate workers
was recently kidnapped near Af-madow by freelance gunmen.
He was later released after local elders interceded.
must raise awareness that tree cutting and coal burning
are the root cause of the frequent recurring drought and
famine in Somalia and the rest of the Horn of Africa.
The coal-exporting czars are the ugly warts that suck
millions of dollars at the expense of the already fragile
environment, and continue incessantly to denude the country.
was outraged after learning that gunmen loyal to one of
the coal-exporting czars kidnapped a visiting environmentalist
from the United Nation Environmental Program. He was later
"I think this could be exceedingly disastrous slap
on Somalia," says the UNEP official on arrival in
Nairobi. "That the environment could be derailed
by one individual is a strike against a country that's
already reeling from wars and men-made famine," the
UN official moaned.
Transitional Federal Government had better take notice
and correct this instead of squabbling over trivial matters.
The irony of this is that while people are dying of hunger
and lack of primary medical care in the drought effected
regions, Kenya exports to Somalia the drug Qaad or khat
and cigarettes as well as expired medicines worth more
than 50 million dollars annually. The Qaad and cigarette,
like the coal-exporting czars, are laughing all the way
to their Nairobi banks.
the way the Somalis in the Diaspora could make a lot of
difference in their mother country by launching a competent
and clan-free fund raising scheme. Of course, the monthly
remittances to their families have been a welcome gesture,
but they could also open their wallets to assist the drought-hit
families in the process.
urge the TFG and the legislators (some of them are the
czars mentioned above) to find an end to their meaningless
bickering and backbiting, and focus their attention fully
on the drought victims.
time to accomplish results.
By M.M. Afrah© 2006