Africans Hit By Tsunami Almost Forgotten

International Aid to Somalia Falls Short Due to Internal Strife

While there has been an outpour of donations, including a recent telethon, for the Asian countries affected by the tsunami, many East African countries affected, particularly Somalia are being left in the cold and destruction caused by mother earth to struggle and resume life with little aid from the international community.

There is speculation that the lack of attention Somalia has been receiving is due to a 13-year civil war which has left a majority of the country poverty stricken.  With this speculation, world leaders have felt that it would be a waste to spend money on any development if civil destruction continues.

A 2002 United Nations report found that African countries which included Somalia ranked last on the list of countries needing aid.  According to Dr. Earl Hutchinson of The Hutchinson Report, it took the newly Somali Prime Minister, Ali Muhammad Gedi, several days to travel to the hardest hit spots in his country.  His government is based in Kenya and is basically a government in exile. It is also known that relations between the United States and Somalia have not been on the best of terms. In 1993, 18 American soldiers were killed by Somali mobs.

It has been reported that Hafun has been the worst affected settlement on the north-eastern coast of Somalia.  BBC News reports have shown that Somalis residing in the fishing settlement of Hafun have built temporary shelters high on hillsides over looking the sea, fearing that another tsunami may strike again. Others have been trying to build makeshift sea defenses. 

Somalia is in its fishing season and many families set up temporary fishing settlements in Hafun.  Many lost their personal belongings along with their fishing equipment.

The World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations has reported that 277 tons of food aid has been dispatched to 17,000 Somalis affected by the tsunami. One hundred three tons of food was delivered to Hafun but much more is needed.  Over the next six months, WFP has plans to provide up to 30,000 people with 2.8 million in U.S. dollars worth of food aid.

Even though, aid is slowly  being disbursed to Somalia and other African countries in need of aid, the question still remains, isn’t it just as inhumane to neglect the humanitarian aid of those in need as it is inhumane for them to destroy their own civilization?