The United Nations declared famine in two regions of Southern Somalia on Wednesday and warned that it could spread further in two months until donor countries step in. The region is experiencing its worst drought in 60 years. According to the United Nations tens of thousands of people have already died of malnutrition in Somalia and 10 million people in east Africa have been affected.
The United Nations estimates that about $1 billion is needed to help the starving millions of the country. However, only $200 million has come in over the past two weeks. In order to fill up the $800 million funding gap, countries like the US will have to step up their aid. Oxfam, an international confederation of 15 organizations working across the globe to eradicate poverty and injustice, has lamented the failure of major donor countries to contribute generously.
In a report by PR newswire, most countries have been very slow in their response to giving aid to the war and drought ravaged country. While the US contributed $383 million in drought relief in 2011, it has pledged only $15 million in new money over the past couple of weeks. Besides, most of the US assistance to Somalia till date has been directed at northern and central Somalia.
While Germany and Spain have made initial contributions, Italy, Denmark and France have not pledged anything new. The UK has pledged an estimated $145 million in the past two weeks that accounts for almost 15 percent of what is needed. This gallery shows the desperation of the starving victims of the country as they try to cope with malnutrition, hunger and drought.