Double tragedies of a crippling
drought condition and an endless conflict have forced Somali families to
survive on the edge.
Hiiraan Online and Agencies
Thursday, July 21, 2011
By Abdullahi Jamaa
The African Union's High Representative for
Somalia, Ghana's former President Jerry Rawlings, on Thursday visited Somalia’s
drought and conflict devastated capital Mogadishu on his first visit to the
country since his appointment in October 2010.
In his assessment entourage Rawlings visited camps
of drought-displaced families in Mogadishu meeting helpless faces of hunger and
“What I saw was very heart wrenching, a five year
old child was looking like a one year old child obviously because of the cumulative
results of malnutrition” Rawlings told the BBC
“No baby should look like the way they were
looking in their mothers’ hands” It was very painful, I was trying my best not to
be emotional, it was difficult to hold it but I had to hide it from cameras”
The AU representative says the result of several seasons
of failed rains combined with an endless conflict exacerbated an already moribund
food security situation.
“We are talking about lack of rains for almost
three years; the conflict has made it very difficult to respond in the appropriate
manner” he said
Appearing and sounding highly emotional, Mr
Rawlings praised the resilience and courage of the people some of whom he said
may have walked for days without food or water to reach refugee camps where
they hope to find some food and water to stay alive.
Moved by the catastrophic humanitarian situation
where families are braving the harsh realities of sleeping on empty bellies and
where wailing babies are sucking something similar to blood from their equality
emaciated mothers, Rawlings said “"I will knock on every door I can to
The former Ghanaian president is now appealing
for urgent food aid and other humanitarian support to save millions of women
and children presently facing death from the harsh famine situation in the Horn
He wants world leaders and citizens of the world
to rise up to their responsibilities to humanity and respond effectively to the
call to save millions of lives.
Mr Rawlings, speaking to Isha Sesay of CNN
Wednesday, said the world must desist from letting Somalia's stereotype images
of piracy and war blunt their sense of responsibility to the people.
“I am afraid this time we have to stop viewing
Somalia through the eyes of these conflicts and, you know the image of the
piracy and come to the assistance of millions of people who need help badly,
seriously. Otherwise we might end up regretting it when hundreds of thousands
of children and the weak ones begin to die in about two, three, four weeks from
now. We need medication and food,” he appealed.
The U.N. believes tens of thousands have already
died in the inaccessible interior, held by al-Qaida linked Islamist rebels who
denied many aid agencies access for two years.
Source: Hiiraan Online and Agencies