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October 22, 2008
Somalia struggles with famine, fear and flight

Over 30,000 refugees fleeing Somalia have tried to cross the gulf of Aden to Yemen, and almost 600 have died or remain missing, according to the United Nations.

On Tuesday, Yemen announced it would ban entry of Ethiopians and Eritreans in response to an influx of refugees, though Somalis are still permitted entry.

Dr. Maximo Migliori of Doctors Without Borders describes the scene at the village of Ahwar in southern Yemen, where refugees wash up on shore — dead or alive.

Below, bloggers in Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere in the region discuss the refugee dilemma and international coverage of Somalia.


Yemeni blogger Omar Barsawad expresses his amazement that Yemen, itself extremely poor, has aided Somali refugees in ways that richer countries have not.

The “Yemenade” blog assesses Yemen’s resources, arguing that they are insufficient and that the international community must take action.

A blogger at “East African Philosopher,” raised in both Kenya and Somalia, discusses the most recent Transparency International report, which listed Somalia as the world’s most corrupt nation. He argues that Somalia is a failed state rather than a corrupt one and criticizes the U.S.’s handling of Somali warlords.

Blogger Nick Wadhams, a freelance journalist based in Kenya, argues that press coverage of piracy ignores the seriousness of the crisis in Somalia.

Journalist Rob Crilly responds, claiming attention on Somalia in any form is an improvement and suggesting journalists “smuggle in some of the serious stuff just below your reference to Johnny Depp.”

The recent pirate attacks brought international attention to war-torn and drought-stricken Somalia. The country’s ongoing fighting — a result of a power vacuum and conflict between warlords and insurgents — has received less attention, though it has displaced over 160,000 Somalis this year alone and left millions hungry.

Worldfocus producer Bryan Myers reflects on his experience covering the conflict in the 1990s: Remembering Somalia before the pirate attacks.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user ISN Security Watch under a Creative Commons license.

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[…] 23, 2008 Hunger epidemic worsens for Somali children Somalia struggles with famine, fear and flightRemembering Somalia before the pirate attacksGlobal poverty and hunger marked worldwideWeek in […]

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