Famine in Somalia


Rebecca Blackwell

Somalian children face the daily threat of starvation.

Alexander Yagoda, Staff Writer

Somalia has officially been in a drought since 2011. Somalia has also been in a civil war since 2009. To add to that, it is recognized by the CIA as the poorest nation in the world, with an average income per capita of $400 dollars per year. The United Nations has declared that  “the country [Somalia] is on the edge of a catastrophic famine.” This has been confirmed by multiple sources, including the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, which stated that the famine occurring in Somalia is “the worst in 25 years,” especially as more than the quarter million people who have died of starvation since 2011 are under the age of five years old.

The quarter million is only an indicator of what is to come, as a total of over six million people in Somalia currently live under the threat of starvation. This is staggering given that the total population of Somali is 10.5 million people. This means that the total people living in starvation is over half the total population, or about 57% of the population. As a comparison, in the United States, a total of five percent of households have very low food security, or about 41 million people.

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I think that the famine in Somalia is something other countries should contribute funds to, because if they did it would be better for all countries as a whole. There are also many programs that can have funds taken from them to fund the aid effort.

— freshman Jonathan Mesa

However, as large as that number may seem, it refers to the security of available food. In Somalia, however, there is a literal lack of food. If all the food in Somalia were to be evenly distributed among every inhabitant until the food ran out, most people would die of starvation. This is likely due to the fact that about half of the nation’s grain intake is being supplied from the nation itself. Which has been going through a drought that dwarfs California’s.

Even counting the humanitarian aid received in recent years, the death toll keeps rising. Why? Because cholera and measles are making a comeback. To be specific, in 2016, 15,619 total cases of cholera were documented, of which 531 resulted in death.

“The famine is terrible, but the money sent to aid the people in Somalia could be better spent in fighting hunger in the person’s own country; basically to fix all the problems at home before helping anywhere else,” sophomore Justin Vazquez said.

Somalia is in the middle of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises of all time, with a massive drought, the worst famine in decades, a civil war and rampant outbreaks of diseases like cholera due to the small amount of water available being largely unsafe for human consumption.