Somalia is threatened by a new famine – violence continues to increase – Bundeswehr instructors are not safe

Somalia: three years after the famine with 250,000 victims

According to the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), Somalia is facing another famine and is therefore in desperate need of more humanitarian aid. "About 850,000 people are in urgent need for help in order to avoid another mass starvation in the summer of 2014," warned Ulrich Delius, the STP's Africa-consultant, in Göttingen on Wednesday. Only about a quarter of the required food supplies have so far been covered by the international community – and there are even grater shortfalls for other necessary aid supplies such as tents. "The terrible starvation of 250,000 people in 2011 should be a reminder not to forget Somalia once again." This week, the United Nations had published an urgent warning concerning a new hunger crisis and had emphasized the fate of 200,000 malnourished children under the age of five.

"Also, we are following the escalation of politically motivated violence in Somalia with great concern," said Delius. "The country, which is still suffering from the 23 years of civil war, is still far away from stability and peace – regardless of the EUTM training mission for the Somali army which the German army is involved in too." For example, suspected fighters of the extremist al-Shabaab militia had attacked the presidential palace in Mogadishu on Tuesday, resulting in an hours-long firefight with the troops. Within the past two weeks, there were two car-bomb attacks against the parliament building. The longtime parliamentarian Mohamed Mahmoud Heyd was shot dead by al-Shabaab militias and the delegate Abdullahi Ahmed Oonka was seriously injured. "Mogadishu is not safe, not even for the instructors of the Bundeswehr," said Delius. "Al Shabaab has threatened to carry out even more attacks during Ramadan. This threat must be taken very seriously – and it will also impede the work of the aid agencies."

The situation of the civilian population in Somalia is also growing worse because other states decided to restrict money transfers to the civil war country, for fear of promoting the Islamic extremists. However, 40 percent of the families in Somalia are dependent on money transfers from their relatives abroad. By order of the US financial authorities, the 85,700 Somalis living in the US will only be able to use the traditional "hawala"-system to support their families at home until the end of July 2014. The hawala-system is based on trust. Money is transferred to an agent in the US, who then pays the respective sum in national currency to the relatives in Somalia through a middleman. "Hawala may now be considered illegal – but for many Somalis it is the last straw to survive."


Ulrich Delius, head of STP's Africa department, is available for further questions: Tel. 0551 49906 27 or afrika@gfbv.de.