Once one of East Africa's strongest and wealthiest countries, Somalia, following its war with Ethiopia and lingering civil unrest, has now fallen into a state of complete ruin. For decades, there has been no central government capable of controlling the country. Tribalism, which is prevalent all across the country, has created a series of intractable problems, following a civil war that broke out among tribes fighting for power. The power vacuum has also seen the rise of al-Shabab, a militant group linked to al-Qaida. For a while, the group assumed control of the southern part of the country and attempted to implement a strict religious jurisprudence.
It was also partially successful in controlling territories, including, for a brief period, the capital Mogadishu.
Besides security issues, the impoverished country has come across an unprecedented drought, sweeping all development opportunities.
Though humanitarian efforts, led by Turkish Airlines, have seen hundreds of wells being dug across the country, the drought has had severe impacts on the whole society and economy.
A recent report by International Crisis Group (ICG) revealed the consequences of the prolonged drought.
The report presents information related to the drought and consequent famine back in 2011 and says, "Once again, conflict-wracked Somalia is faced with mass hunger, just six years after a man-made famine took the lives of 250,000 people, mostly children."
The 2011 famine had seen Turkey step in with humanitarian aid.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was prime minister at the time, also visited the country along with his family the same year. He launched a number of projects in order to help Somalia recover from the famine and drought as well as develop the country.
Following a successful humanitarian aid campaign that involved delivering food, digging wells, building hospitals and schools, as well as renovating the country's fragile infrastructure, Turkey's Somalia policy moved beyond humanitarian aid with the launch of a training program for Somali troops.
Turkish businessmen, at the same time, began operating the country's port and airport.
Emphasizing on the current humanitarian crisis, the ICG report said, "An estimated 6.2 million people, half the country's population, are in dire need; over three million are in a 'crisis' or 'emergency' situation, faced with death due to hunger and disease. While governmental and international responses have been relatively swift and relief efforts better coordinated (in part, because of lessons learned from the 2011 famine), many former limitations and challenges remain."
"Today, Somalis are starving because funding is insufficient and because access denial and insecurity impede delivery; most of all, they are starving because chronic conflict has destroyed their savings and ability to cope with periodic drought," it continued.
Since one of the main reasons for the crisis is insecurity, the report recommended the central and federal government ramp up its efforts to combat insurgent groups so that the delivery of goods could be facilitated.
Apart from al-Shabab, the inter-clan conflicts in certain areas also make it difficult to access for the delivery of aid, the report mentioned.
Explaining the reasons behind the current humanitarian crisis, the report said, "The immediate cause of the current crisis is extensive and prolonged drought provoked by two consecutive years of failed Deyr (October-December) and Gu (April-June) rains. This triggered a humanitarian catastrophe on a scale unprecedented since 2011. Subsistence farming in the Shabelle and Juba river valleys has all but collapsed; prices of staple grains and legumes (maize, sorghum and beans) have doubled; and millions of livestock have perished. Deforestation (partly fueled by the charcoal trade), soil erosion, coupled with diminishing volumes of water in the three major rivers, Shabelle, Janale and Juba, in turn have severely undermined subsistence farming in the fertile riverine belts."
The report concluded that the Somali government and international actors have to bring down roadblocks, ease bureaucratic difficulties; crack down on the internal-conflict, sexual attacks and tackle the roots of the chronic conflict.
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