US: 29,000 Somali children under 5 dead in famine

Kenya East Africa Famine
Schalk van Zuydam

Women stand in line to get water in a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, Thursday, Aug 4, 2011. Dadaab, a camp designed for 90,000 people now houses around 440,000 refugees. Almost all are from war-ravaged Somalia. Some have been here for more than 20 years, when the country first collapsed into anarchy. But now more than 1,000 are arriving daily, fleeing fighting or hunger(AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The drought and famine in Somalia have killed more than 29,000 children under the age of 5, according to U.S. estimates, the first time such a precise death toll has been released related to the Horn of Africa crisis.

The United Nations has said previously that tens of thousands of people have died in the drought, the worst in Somalia in 60 years. The U.N. says 640,000 Somali children are acutely malnourished, a statistic that suggests the death toll of small children will rise.

Nancy Lindborg, an official with the U.S. government aid arm, told a congressional committee in Washington on Wednesday that the U.S. estimates that more than 29,000 children under the age of 5 have died in the last 90 days in southern Somalia. That number is based on nutrition and mortality surveys verified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The U.N. on Wednesday declared three new regions in Somalia famine zones, bringing the total number to five. Out of a population of roughly 7.5 million, the U.N. says 3.2 million Somalis are in need of immediate lifesaving assistance.

Getting aid to Somalia has been made more difficult because al-Qaida-linked militants control much of the country's most desperate areas. Al-Shabab has denied that a famine is taking place, and won't give access to the World Food Program, the world's biggest provider of food aid.

Tens of thousands of refugees have fled south-central Somalia in hopes of finding food at camps in Ethiopia, Kenya and in Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been donated to fight the hunger crisis, but the U.N. says it needs hundreds of millions more.

APTOPIX Kenya East Africa Famine
Schalk van Zuydam

A child stands in front of her home at a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, Thursday, Aug 4, 2011. Dadaab, a camp designed for 90,000 people now houses around 440,000 refugees. Almost all are from war-ravaged Somalia. Some have been here for more than 20 years, when the country first collapsed into anarchy. But now more than 1,000 are arriving daily, fleeing fighting or hunger(AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

APTOPIX Kenya East Africa Famine
Schalk van Zuydam

People at a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, Thursday, Aug 4, 2011. Dadaab, a camp designed for 90,000 people now houses around 440,000 refugees. Almost all are from war-ravaged Somalia. Some have been here for more than 20 years, when the country first collapsed into anarchy. But now more than 1,000 are arriving daily, fleeing fighting or hunger(AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

Kenya East Africa Famine
Schalk van Zuydam

A woman carries three water containers on her back to her home at a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, Thursday, Aug 4, 2011. Dadaab, a camp designed for 90,000 people now houses around 440,000 refugees. Almost all are from war-ravaged Somalia. Some have been here for more than 20 years, when the country first collapsed into anarchy. But now more than 1,000 are arriving daily, fleeing fighting or hunger(AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

APTOPIX Kenya East Africa Famine
Schalk van Zuydam

Donkeys try to get water from a container in front of a home at a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, Thursday, Aug 4, 2011. Dadaab, a camp designed for 90,000 people now houses around 440,000 refugees. Almost all are from war-ravaged Somalia. Some have been here for more than 20 years, when the country first collapsed into anarchy. But now more than 1,000 are arriving daily, fleeing fighting or hunger(AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

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Comments

Greg Rose's picture

Lots of oil in Somalia

Seems that I recall some BIG oil companies having contracts to drill in Somalia before the civil war erupted to it's current level. Peace there, interestingly enough, is in the best interest of the giant multi-billion dollar, multi-national corporations. Perhaps these corporations should rally their tremendous resources and start providing food and water to the people living on the land that they want to drill holes in and makes millions of dollars from.

Greg Rose's picture

29,000 CHILDREN STARVED TO DEATH!

And more to come no doubt... along with thousands more adults. Did those children deserve that? They aren't the pirates taking hostages and collecting ransomes. They aren't the corrupt governments inhibiting aid shipments. They are children. Innocent CHILDREN. Many of the Somalian families living in our community left their homes in Africa in search of a better life for their families. Who would have thought, given the American mindset of excess and greed, that the definition of a better life for these folks would be so simple: adequate food, clean water, a roof over their heads and basic health care? While we take what we have for granted, others in the world lay their heads down at night longing for just a little bit of what Americans take for granted. A few of my tax dollars go toward helping make a better life for someone... putting food in a childs belly... I'd rather that happen than one more penny of my money funding unjust wars.

Jessie Fields's picture

Unbelievable.

I find it sad how people who live in a country of material excess (ours) love to judge people who don't even have the one thing that ALL people of the world should have a right to (food). These are human beings. They are starving.

 's picture

Humans yes

but why cant they help their own. Again there are millions of dollars floating around in Somalia. People help yourselves.

KRIS KUCERA's picture

Have you no sense of decency?!?

You know, these are human beings. Just maybe, for a second, think about their near-hopeless struggle. (No thanks to the Vatican vociferously fighting against birth control in Africa and elsewhere.) What if you were born into those circumstances, like the poor child in the photo? But no, it's your time to take cheap shots at the local Somalians. Real classy, and real compassionate. Hate on. . . .

GARY SAVARD's picture

Kris, these people are

Kris, these people are Muslims, so how much influence does the Vatican have on their reproduction rate? None, really. Even locally, these folks tend to have children about as often as nature allows, and again, I doubt it's the Vatican's fault. Bush, maybe, but not the Vatican.

KRIS KUCERA's picture

Evangelicum Vitae, for starters.

And prior, in '72, a campaigning incumbent Richard Nixon feared Church retribution for a detailed population plan for Africa that he proverbially voted for it before he voted against it: http://www.population-security.org/journal-spes.htm

But you do offer a very good criticism, Gary. Somalia is not Africa per se, and it is predominately Muslim as you wrote. Yes, I should've lumped in the Bush Evangelicals et al., but more specifically, the Islamic monsters constituting al Shabaab, which denies there's even a famine. Paging George Orwell. . . .

 's picture

all the ransome money

has been sent to lewiston to spend at the auburn walmart

 's picture

Ransom Money

Where is all the millions in ransom money the pirates have collected over the years going?

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