Half of Somalia’s Population May Feel Effects of Impending Third Famine

by Vins

As drought in Somalia looms, the nation is “on the brink” of its third famine in twenty-five years, according to information posted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in February 2017. According to the WHO’s alert, there 360,000 acutely malnourished and 70,000 severely malnourished Somali children in need of immediate medical attention. The WHO alert further explains that not only hunger but also diseases that children more easily contract due to weakened immune systems threatens these children’s lives.

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has declared a national disaster for Somalia. He stated that fifty percent of the country’s population are expected to face severe food shortages. He has asked for $825 million in aid to assist 5.5 million people over the span of six months. There has been no rain for months so citizens have been unable to grow food and there is not enough clean water for drinking. A number of citizens have been displaced because of war and drought which puts resources of other towns under increasing pressure to provide.

In addition to the WHO’s alerts and press releases, Al Jazeera has regularly covered the Somalian drought and the threat of famine there. There was a new article on the crisis posted just yesterday. A search of corporate news coverage, using ProQuest’s Newspaper Source Plus database yielded just one relevant report, filed by the Associated Press on February 28, 2017. Somalia is far away and Americans, who do not feel the drought’s affects first-hand, are relatively detached from conditions there. If news media invested more time reporting the Somalian plight, perhaps money could be raised more quickly for aid.

Source: Fahmida Miller, “Famine Stalks Somalia Again,” Al Jazeera, March 6, 2017, http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/africa/2017/03/famine-stalks-somalia-170307044747239.html.

Student Researcher: Corey Starr (College of Western Idaho)

Faculty Evaluator: Michelle Mahoney (College of Western Idaho)

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