Friday, August 19, 2005

Somalia Faces Food, Health Crises

A UN report states that Somalia is facing a food and shelter crises due to a poor harvest and regional fighting. (Reuters Health: UN warns of growing crisis in Somalia). I find it very difficult to sympathize with the plight of people that openly opposed US assistance 1992. A US lead multi-lateral operation was sent to Somalia to crack down on the looting and extortion that was preventing food from reaching the people. As it turns out, though, local support for regional warlords was extremely high and the US met heavy resistance from the population they were there to assist.

Last month, the UN World Food Program suspended operations in Somalia after a ship carrying 850 tons of rice was hijacked by armed gangs north of Bossaso. Armed support of the aid efforts ended in 1995 after a lengthy string of attacks by the Somali National Alliance.

Somalia is clearly its own worst enemy. Support for the local warlords is extremely high. Food and aid programs that have been in existence for decades simply do not work because of armed resistance in the areas that need those programs the most. As harsh as it may sound, we need to leave Somalia to its own devices. We cannot help a people that does not want to be helped, and after 13-years of trying, it's no longer worth the effort.

The food and assistance earmarked for Somalia is also desperately needed in other parts of Africa - parts that do not offer armed resistance to those trying to provide that assistance. It's time to cut Somalia loose and redirect the aid to regions that will actually benefit from it. Continuing to try to assist in Somalia only wastes time, money, and the lives of the workers trying to help the people. It's not worth it.


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