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Posts tagged "somalia"

If Mogadishu occupies an ambiguous space in our minds and hearts, it is because ours is a land with an overwhelming majority of pastoralists, who are possessed of a deep urbophobia.

Maybe this is why most Somalis do not seem unduly perturbed by the fate of the capital: a city broken into segments, each of them ruthlessly controlled by an alliance of militias.

by Somali writer Nuruddin Farah (1988). I read this mind blowing quote while researching migration as a climate adaptation option for certain cities.

Urbaphobia" - the condition that cities are a threat to rural life. As a consequence, said cities will not obtain the support required for their long term existence.

I’m not sure of the cultural scale required for urbaphobia to supplant the viability of cities, but it is an interesting concept. Perhaps, for example, Detroit needed a certain level of support from the surrounding rural areas in order to survive. If true, which other cities are threatened by this phobia?

A Somali fisherman carries his catch near the port of Mogadishu on the Indian Ocean coast. (AFP)

Areas of food shortages and famine in East Africa

(via oxfamgb)

When human populations can no longer live on their land, they move, migrating to better places. Sea level rise, higher temperatures, disruption of water cycles, and increasing severity of storms are climate change impacts that will force millions of people to move from their homes.

Most populations will migrate slowly, but in the case of catastrophic events coupled with the inability to adapt, mass migration will occur. Think, New Orleans vs Somalia, where New Orleans is arguably more able to adapt to catastophic weather events than Somalia, which is dealing with millions of people migrating north and west due to climate drought. This shows there are two general types of migration - very slow, and very fast. It’s not a smooth gradient pattern where people slowly and eventually move from place to place, like Americans or Europeans do. No, rather this slow/fast pace is lumpy and jagged, and occurs in unexpected spurts at the extremes.

But what of their destinations? Are countries prepared for these sporadic influxes? In other words, what about the countries that receive these migrants? Are they prepared? A new white paper, Climate Change and Migration Dynamics, funded by the European Union and published by Migration Policy, concludes that international cooperation is needed in order to respond to mass displacements that could occur from climate changes, even in the short-term.

The paper looks at it from the point of view of countries, not from the point of view of the people. From that point of view, the authors take a look at policies that would or would not allow mass migrations within the above context of extremes. The authors split countries policies into two general categories, an obstructive approach and a constructive approach.

Obstructive policies are just that - they purposefully obstruct massive amounts of people from immigrating into their political boundaries. The United States, though relatively generous, would be in this category.

Constructive countries help people maintain their livelihoods in the face of climate change. These countries accommodate climate migrants movements as necessary. New Zealand has a limited climate migration policy, allowing up to 12,000 people from the island nation of Tuvalu to migrate in case complete inundation of the islands by sea level rise. (Note: I didn’t find a country that has very accommodating migration policies, if you know of one, please contact me).

The paper is a short read - just about 10 pages. I recommend it to my adaptation readers as an excellent source of information for international issues of immigration and human responses to climate impacts.

Source: “Climate Change and Migration Dynamics" via Migration Policy

This is such bullshit. The State Department has spent $582 million dollars (here pdf) on the Somalian famine. Where the f*ck is the money going?

“In total, 4 million people are in crisis in Somalia, with 750,000 people at risk of death in the coming four months in the absence of adequate response,” the UN’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) says.

Surely this statement alone should send shockwaves across the globe. This crisis has the potential to claim more lives than the 2005 asian tsunami, 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami COMBINED

Clinton’s subdued, serious speech on Somalia at the IFPRI focuses on sustainable agriculture. She demonstrates deep knowledge of the immediate crisis, implores regional governments to intervene, now, and implores al-Shabaab to step-up. Most interesting is her vision for the region for sustainable agriculture. Run Hilary Run? 

Bottom line: Immediate: U.S. has spent $580 million for about 4.6 million people this year for food, distribution, protection, health care, aid workers, and clean water. Long-term: The U.S. has dedicated around $3 billion towards building better agricultural practices throughout Africa. This second part, the long-term strategy for sustainable agriculture at very large scales, deserves more coverage. 

More: Crisis in the Horn of Africa | How You Can Help

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks on the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on August 11, 2011. Secretary Clinton discussed the ongoing international humanitarian response, as well as how the crisis in the Horn of Africa shows the urgency of investing in sustained food security through efforts such as Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

Secretary… more »

(via statedept)

What’s interesting about this is that the State Dept is trying to develop a long-term fix, rather than a full-on hand-out. They’re developing a sustainable agriculture program with local farmers.

With Feed the Future, President Obama’s initiative on food security, we are working with the Kenyan government and smallholder farmers to achieve sustainable, long-term and life-saving agriculture development.” More below…

Dr. Jill Biden traveled to Kenya with former U.S. Senator Bill Frist, USAID Administrator Raj Shah, Assistant Secretary of State Eric Schwartz, and Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith. At the Dadaab Refugee Complex the delegation witnessed firsthand the effects of one of worst droughts in 60 years and the results of the famine in Somalia. 29,000 children under the age of five have died in the past three months and more than 12 million people across the Horn of Africa are in urgent need of care.

About the Author: Dr. Rajiv Shah is the Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Earlier this week, I visited the world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya, where thousands of exhausted and starving refugees have sought food, water and medical care after fleeing…

Blind Somalian children struggle for survival. Folks, this is not easy to watch.


In war-torn Somalia’s only school for the blind, playing is a matter of survival — and children must learn to be aware of their surroundings in a country where disabilities are viewed as a curse and the afflicted are hidden away.

Thirty four percent of all garbage in the UAE is food, according to a risky new article published today in Gulf News: Breaking the Fast: What a Waste. Compare that to the US, where it’s 14% (an incredibly unacceptable number). 

Very important note: Municipal waste (the chart above) in the US makes up around 25% of what’s in a landfill. The other 75% is industrial, commercial, constructions, hazardous, mining, etc. So, that’s 25% municipal waste, and only 14% of that is food. On a grand scale, that’s just around 3% of total waste is food in the US. 

But, in the UAE, there is barely any commercial waste. They don’t mine, there are no old buildings to tear down and throw away, and there’s no mining, barely any wood, landscape trimmings, nor haz-mats to speak of. Just packaging, food, and some building materials used during construction, which has halted due to economic slowdown. So, food does account for a full 34% of the gross waste in the UAE. And that’s shameful. 

Here’s a breakdown of US waste. I’ll post UAE’s if I find it later today.  

The US gave $459 million, see here. WHERE DID IT GO?


Horn of Africa Crisis: By the Numbers

Graphic by Rich Clabaugh/Monitor staff

I’m glad the statedept is donating to groups; BUT they’ve/we’ve spent $459 million dollars. For what? Show us what it bought!

A family stand before a scale in a field hospital of the International Rescue Committee, IRC, in the town of Dadaab, Kenya, July 26, 2011. [AP File Photo]

More than 11.5 million people — primarily in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia — are in need of emergency assistance in the Horn of Africa. The United States is concerned about the high malnutrition rates in the region — particularly in southern and central Somalia and the attendant Somali refugee population. A large-scale multi-donor intervention is underway to prevent the further decline of an already dire situation, but there will be no quick fix. The United States is one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance to the region, providing approximately $459 million this fiscal year to help those in need. This funding supports humanitarian assistance to refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other drought affected populations, and builds near and longer term food security. Because emergency assistance will not solve the underlying long-term problems in the region,… more »

World Bank pledges $500 million to the Horn of Africa relief efforts. Warning: images of dying children.

Independent Television News’ Martin Geissler reports from the intensive care unit at Hagadera Hospital in Dadaab. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled from Somalia into Kenya. Be advised: This story does contain disturbing images.

How to Help

(via newshour)

I wrote: “$400 million? Who the eff is running this? Why so damn inefficient? The lack of accountability is infuriating. Four hundred million dollars, plus NGO, UN, Int’l, and local aid and y’all can’t get this right? AND you’re asking for more? FIX. IT.

I cannot let this stand unanswered. I want an answer from the State Department. What has the US accomplished in Somalia with $400 f*cking million dollars? Who is on point during this crisis? Hillary fires off strongly worded letters, and we read on the State Dept tumblr they’ve spent $400 million on absolutely nothing

The US is incredibly under-prepared for foreseeable crises. How shamefully embarrassing. 

(Folks, I’ll update if the State Dept responds…) 


Workers load sacks of cornmeal for distribution to Somali refugees at a World Food Program food distribution center at Ifo Camp, outside Dadaab, Kenya, July 16, 2011. [AP Photo]

More: Crisis in the Horn of Africa

Today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton issued the following press statement in response to the declaration of famine in Somalia and drought in the Horn of Africa:

“The United States is deeply concerned by the humanitarian emergency in…

More on the drought in East Africa. Al Jazeera, of course, leads world coverage. 

AJE: Africa drought refugees are desperate for water

Around three thousand refugees are arriving in the Dadaab complex every day, to flee the worsening drought in neighbouring Somalia.

There are already 440,000 people at the site.

Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste reports from Garissa in northeast Kenya.