Famine, war and chaos in Somalia
August 3, 2011
Somalia – without a functioning government for most of the last 20 years, devastated by civil war and the insurgency of al Qaeda-affiliated Al Shabab, and one of the poorest, most dangerous places in the world – has now endured successive droughts that have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis there, prompting the United Nations to declare a famine in two provinces of Somalia, and it is believed to be spreading throughout the country’s south. As tens of thousands of starving refugees flee across the border to refugee camps in Kenya, Al Shabab continues to threaten and attack Western aid groups it accuses of espionage and worse. On today’s Radio Times, guest host TRACEY MATISAK will start with an update from JEFFREY GETTLEMAN, East Africa bureau chief for The New York Times, whose story about Al Shabab preventing starving Somalis from fleeing areas they control dominated the Times’ front page on Tuesday. Then we’ll be joined by MARK BOWDEN, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, who will update us on the efforts to supply food and aid to the war- and famine-ravaged region. Finally, we’ll hear from DAVID SHINN, former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia and State Department coordinator for Somalia during the early 1990s, about the political, diplomatic and historical contexts that have pushed Somalia even deeper into crisis.