Tag Archives: Famine

Aid Delay Cost Thousands of Lives

Thousands of people, mostly children, have died because the international community did not respond to warnings of an impending famine in East Africa.

Photo Courtesy of CNN

A food shortage was predicted in August 2010, but donors did not respond until a famine was declared in July 2011.

The British government estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 people have died from the famine, mostly in Somalia.

On Friday, it will be six months since the United Nations declared famine in Somalia.  Tens of thousands will have died of starvation by the time the famine ends. A quarter of a million Somalis are still at risk of starvation, and more than 13 million people need aid.

Via Impunity Watch.

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Somali Women Face Rape and Sexual Assault

English: Najmo, an 8 year old Somali schoolgir...

Image via Wikipedia

Somalia has been worn down by decades of conflict. This year, tens of thousands have died from famine, with countless others cut down in combat. Now Somalis face an increase in rapes and sexual abuse of women and girls.

The Shabab militant group, which presents itself as a morally righteous rebel force and the defender of Islam, is seizing women and girls as spoils of war, gang-raping and abusing them as part of its reign of terror in southern Somalia. Short of cash and losing ground, the militants are forcing families to hand over girls for arranged marriages that often last no more than a few weeks and are essentially sexual slavery.

It is not just the Shabab. In the past few months, there has been a free-for-all of armed men preying on women and girls displaced by Somalia’s famine.

With the famine putting hundreds of thousands of women on the move — severing them from their traditional protection, the clan — more Somali women are raped now than at any time. In some areas, women are used as chits at roadblocks, surrendered to the gunmen at the barrier so that a group of desperate refugees can pass.

In the past two months, from Mogadishu alone, the United Nations has received more than 2,500 reports of gender-based violence. Because Somalia is a no-go zone for most operations, United Nations officials are unable to confirm the reports, leaving the work to fledgling Somali aid organizations under constant threat.

Somalia is a traditional place, where 98% of girls are subject to genital cutting. Most girls are illiterate and relegated to their homes.

The famine and mass displacement, which began over the summer, have made women and girls more vulnerable. Many Somali communities have been disbanded, and with armed groups forcing men and boys into their militias, it is often single women, with children in tow, who set off on the dangerous odyssey to refugee camps.

Aid workers and United Nations officials say the Shabab, who are fighting Somalia’s transitional government and imposing a harsh version of Islam in the areas they control, can no longer pay their several thousand fighters.

Via The New York Times.

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Paul: Famines Happen Because Africa Isn’t Capitalist Enough

Ron Paul, member of the United States House of...

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On Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul explained to CNN’s T.J. Holmes that famines in Africa are a result of a lack of “free market systems.”

“All I know is if you look at history and if you compare good medical care and you compare famine, the countries that are more socialistic have more famines,” Paul said. “If you look at Africa, they don’t have any free market systems and property rights and they have famines and no medical care. So the freer the system, the better the health care.”

Mr. Holmes also gave Rep. Paul a chance to respond to the controversy after the Tea Party audience at Monday night’s CNN/Tea Party presidential debate cheering the notion of an uninsured man being left to die.

“This whole idea that they world will not provide for people if you don’t depend on government — freedom provides more prosperity and better health care than all the socialism and welfarism in the world,” Paul said. “Nobody can compete with me about compassion because I know and understand how free markets and sound money and a sensible foreign policy is the most compassionate system ever known to mankind. So if you care about people you have to look to the freedom philosophy and limited government.”

Click here to see a video of Rep. Paul’s comments.

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