This month, one in five children in Somalia might experience deadly malnutrition, based on current trends. While led up to for decades, the media has continuously buried the severity of this famine. What's caused it, and what can we do to help?
The Roots of The Famine
Recovering from the 2021 floods, Somalia was hit by a catastrophic drought this year, putting nearly the entire population in dangerous weather conditions. Sudden changes from droughts to floods over the decades have also caused poor harvests, resulting in food insecurity and rising poverty rates.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has only amplified food insecurity, as the two countries previously supplied over 90% of Somalia's wheat among other food sources, and this was suddenly terminated.
"We are burying babies and watching with heartbreak as mothers cry because they don’t know what to feed their children, now dying of hunger and thirst, and drought robs families of crops and livestock, their only source of income.”
-Daud Jiran, director of humanitarian organization Mercy Crops for Somalia
Another contributor has been the COVID-19 pandemic. The labor force has significantly weakened, with 73% of all Somalian firms having permanently let off workers since December 2019. This has stacked onto the already-existing economic instability, leaving millions of Somalis out of work, displaced, and vulnerable amidst the drought.
What Is The World Doing?
In early September, Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted that Ukraine is in the process of shipping nearly 30,000 tons of wheat to Somalia.
In July 2022, the United States Agency for International Development provided $476 million to Somalia, adding another $151 million in September. The agency has even collaborated with the World Food Program to provide food assistance for 3.6 million Somalis. Other countries have offered support in similar ways, such as the European Union, which has funded food, water, and health services, along with shelter and education.
How You Can Help
Here are some ways you can help as a teenager:
1. Educate yourself
It is important that you understand what is currently happening in Somalia. A quick internet search can lead to thousands of credible results.
Tell your friends and family what's going on. Don't be afraid to spark conversations, but avoid speaking about the situation with contempt or ignorance.
3. Help aid organizations
Organizations desperately need your help. You can spread the word about them, donate, create fundraisers...get creative!
4. Go further
Somalia is one of many countries in an economic crisis. Do some research to understand what's happening around the world and why, and how you can help!
Somalia is on the verge of a deadly famine because of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the pandemic, and weather conditions, among other causes. Countries have taken action to help, but it is not enough, and the media has hidden how extreme the situation is. You can help by educating yourself and others, and raising awareness. By taking action now, we can prevent the dreadful, near future of Somalia.