Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lemming Tracks: Somalia Famine - Just Somalia?!

It's all over the news. Somalia is in bad shape. Particularly parts of southern Somalia, where Somalis face famine. In Somalia. Here's a sample of today's news about - Somalia.

"UN declares Somalia famine in Bakool and Lower Shabelle"
(July 20, 2011)

"The United Nations has declared a famine in two areas of southern Somalia as the region suffers the worst drought in more than half a century.

"The UN said the humanitarian situation in southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle had deteriorated rapidly.

"It is the first time that the country has seen famine in 19 years.

"Meanwhile, the UN and US have said aid agencies need further safety guarantees from armed groups in Somalia to allow staff to reach those in need...."

The Lemming is about as certain as it's possible to be, that the situation in Somalia is bad. Very bad. Definitely not-good. Pretty much the opposite of 'okay.' Somalis are dying of starvation, and diseases that might not have been so bad, if the folks hadn't been starving.

The Lemming is also glad to see that the United Nations decided to make a formal declaration of famine in two parts of Somalia. That's not, in the Lemming's opinion, as silly as it may sound: that sort of formal declaration probably makes it easier for the United States and other interested nations to start the process of getting help to those two spots in Somalia.

Eventually, the United Nations declaration, and government programs, may make a practical difference in the lives of some of the survivors.

In another blog, the Lemming mentioned one of the other outfits that's already in that part of the world: "Drought, Starvation, Death, Request for Help - But No Pressure," A Catholic Citizen in America (July 18, 2011).

Somalia's Got Trouble - And They've Got Company

Again, the Lemming is convinced that folks in Somalia - many of them - are starving, dying of diseases that should be non-lethal, and generally having a very bad time.

That's not right, and the Lemming thinks folks should do something to help. But, hey: no pressure.

Thanks to a long wait in a clinic, the Lemming heard over an hour of CNN news today. In which the tragedy of suffering in Somalia was discussed. Also starvation in Somalia, disease in Somalia, disease exacerbated by starvation in Somalia - where folks are suffering. Tragically. In Somalia.

This is not a criticism of CNN and nobody else - they're not the only ones obsessing on Somalia today. And, again: really, the Lemming thinks folks in Somalia are facing very real, very deadly, problems.

But - and it's hard to tell, given the coverage of Somalia - where Somalis are dying - in Somalia: Somalia isn't alone. It's one of several countries in the eastern part of Africa where folks are dealing with a catastrophic drought:

"...Some aid workers say this year's drought conditions in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan are the worst in living memory...."

Here's that list of countries:
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan

Putting Things in Perspective?

Quite often, the Lemming's all for journalists not taking a local or regional problem and implying that it's a continent-wide catastrophe. But the Lemming also thinks it's a good idea to at least mention when a problem in one country is shared by folks in several neighboring countries, too.

Sure, the United Nations probably didn't make a declaration about Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan today. But would it kill the news anchor to mention that Somalia wasn't the only place where folks are facing drought, starvation, and associated unpleasantness?

The Lemming really needs to give ranting a rest - and that's another topic.

Somewhat-related posts:

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