The Washington Post reports that nearly 170,000 Somalis have fled to packed refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia since January. In Kenya, about 1,300 people are arriving daily, while an average of 1,700 enter Ethiopia. Most are arriving after grueling journeys along what officials call the “roads of death.”
Somalis have endured two decades of civil war and two consecutive seasons of failed rains. Now, after their livestock and crops have died, and with their babies suffering from malnutrition and food prices skyrocketing, many are arriving at the refugee camps after having abandoned any hope of surviving on their own.
Even worse, any hope of the world helping them is also fading, and it has a lot to do with Al-Shabab, the militia linked to al-Qaida that rules large parts of southern Somalia. Leaders have barred international aid agencies from delivering assistance to regions they control and have heavily taxed ordinary Somalis on food and other goods, exacerbating the crisis. In fact, the militia won’t even admit that a famine is taking place, disputing the U.N.’s reports that tens of thousands of Somalis, mostly children, have died because of it. In reality, the unconscionable position of Al-Shabab is just as undeniable as the crisis itself.
Read more at the Washington Post.