Somalia and 500,000 children face acute malnutrition: Islamists and war

Somalia and 500,000 children face acute malnutrition: Islamists and war

Noriko Watanabe and Chika Mori

Modern Tokyo Times

UNICEF announced that 513,000 children face severe acute malnutrition in Somalia. The numbers keep on growing in this war-torn nation that faces famine. 

Food delivered to people is increasing. For example, 3.1 million people received humanitarian assistance between April and June. This figure is now 4.5 million people. However, it is estimated that approximately 6.7 million people will face acute food insecurity between October and the end of the year. Therefore, the situation is critical – especially when the real crisis could be even worse in remote areas under the rule of Al-Shabaab. 

Lee Jay Walker says, “The Al-Shabaab (Al-Shabab) Islamist insurgency continues unabated. Indeed, this Islamist group is known to tax humanitarian food and support. Therefore, it is incumbent on a truce to be declared by all parties to the conflict during this time of heightened food insecurity.” 

UN News reports, “As a result of the poor rains, Somalia is facing a fourth consecutive failed rainy season and a heightened risk of localized famine in six areas – including in South West State – particularly if food prices continue to rise and humanitarian assistance is not sustained to reach the most vulnerable people.”

Voice of America says, “Thousands of people have died, including nearly 900 children under 5 being treated for malnutrition…”

Throughout the region, tens of millions face food insecurity in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. Ethiopia is also blighted by war. Indeed, Al-Shabaab incursions have happened recently in Ethiopia – alongside the endless bloodshed in Tigray and other parts of Ethiopia. 

ABC News reports, “Aid groups say that after the 2011 famine they had built up the infrastructure to help, but now with donor attention on the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic, they lacked the funds.”

The situation in Somalia is dire. Hence, the need for dialogue between government forces, local militias, and the Al-Shabaab. If not, the menace of war will further exacerbate a desperate situation in areas under the control of Al-Shabaab insurgents.

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