What’s to blame in Somalia: drought or politics?

Mohamed is quickly becoming the go-to guy for people in Regina who are trying to learn more about the crisis in Somalia. Check out this interview he had with NewsTalk Radio CJME. Mohamed shines light on the fact that people in Somalia aren’t suffering only from drought and famine, but from people-made political barriers.

And it’s not only Mohamed talking about this. Abdi Ismail Samatar, a professor of geography at the University of Minnesota, argues that this famine, and ones seen before in Africa, have been caused not by drought by by sectarian politics:

Droughts are common in the Somali peninsula, but only an exceptional one produces famine. For instance, the Horn of Africa drought of 1984 did not produce famine in Somalia, while the Ethiopian population was devastated. The latter country suffered famine because the military government of the time was engaged in a civil war, and did not come to the rescue of its people.

Ten years earlier, in the mid-1970s, there was a prolonged drought, known as “dabadeer” [“the long-tailed”], in several parts of Somalia. Fortunately, this drought did not lead to mass starvation because the Somali government moved quickly to assist the people. They mobilised the population and sought the assistance of international allies to deliver food and water to the needy.

Somalia’s last major famine was in 1992 and was not caused by drought. Nearly 300,000 innocent people starved to death because of sectarian politics.

More from Professor Abdi Ismail Samatar here..

Jessica Brown


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