» Will this be enough to help? Joe Biden’s wife recently visited Somalia to highlight how bad things are. In case you don’t know, here are some numbers: Aid is only reaching 20% of the people who need it, more than 12 million people need aid in the Horn of Africa, and over 640,000 children are acutely malnourished. Let’s just hope that this aid can actually reach those who need it.
» To put this in perspective: In Somalia alone, experts say that 3.7 million people are directly affected by the drought — roughly half the population in some places. And to be clear, “famine” is a loaded term, but one the UN only uses when the situation meets a very dire statistical level — we’re talking malnutrition rates above 30 percent.
» Militant group al-Shabab won’t allow UN aid: With millions of people prevented from receiving necessary aid in a region of the world that really needs it, African Union and Somali government officials have been forced to fight to gain ground against the al-Qaeda-tied group. Could you imagine leaders denying help to the people in their control when they absolutely need it? We couldn’t, but this is the instability that Somalia currently knows.
» A drop in a chaotic bucket: With millions reportedly affected by widespread famine and political factors preventing aid from getting to over 2 million people, a lot more has to be done to ensure the health and safety of many affected by the historic drought currently hitting Africa. The World Food Program estimates that as many as 11.3 people in the region need aid. Fortunately, world organizations like the European Union are starting to chip in more money.
» And it’s getting worse: Famine is a pervasive and devastating problem, and it’s presently burgeoning in Somalia, as well as Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, North and South Sudan, and Djibouti, to varying extents. The situation in Somalia is rapidly worsening, to boot — the U.N. believes that should food shortages continue unchecked for another one or two months, it will spread from its current concentration (mostly in Southern Somalia) and grip the entire country. The U.N. highlighting this reflects that urgency, as they’d like to see some international mobilization to ease this humanitarian crisis. Whether that happens remains unknown; it’s clear the U.N. feels the response has been far too anemic at this point.