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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Somalia and Somali News

 Country Profile

Capital Mogadishu

In 1960 British and Italian parts of Somalia become independent, merge and form the United Republic of Somalia .Abdullah Osman Daar elected president.

Relations with neighbours have been soured by its territorial claims on Somali-inhabited areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.

In 1970 President Siad Barre proclaimed a socialist state, paving the way for close relations with the USSR. In 1977, with the help of Soviet arms, Somalia attempted to seize the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, but was defeated.

Years of fighting between rival warlords and an inability to deal with famine and disease have led to the deaths of up to one million people.

In 1991 President Siad Barre was overthrown by opposing clans. But they failed to agree on a replacement and plunged the country into lawlessness and clan warfare .After the collapse of the President Siad Barre regime in 1991, the north-west part of Somalia unilaterally declared itself the independent Republic of Somaliland. The territory, whose independence is not recognised by international bodies, has enjoyed relative stability.

The long-standing absence of authority in the country(since 1991) has led to Somali pirates becoming a major threat to international shipping in the area, and has prompted Nato to take the lead in an anti-piracy operation.

In 2011, the plight of the Somali people was exacerbated by the worst drought in six decades, which left millions of people on the verge of starvation and caused tens of thousands to flee to Kenya and Ethiopia in search of food.

Foreign Intervention in Somalia

  • 1992 - UN troops arrive to monitor ceasefire after fighting which followed fall of Siad Barre. US-led task force delivers aid
  • 1993 - UN mission is dealt a fatal blow when US rangers are killed in incident made famous by Hollywood film Black Hawk Down
  • 1995 - UN troops withdraw, leaving warlords to fight on. UN casualties number 150
  • 2006 - Ethiopia sends troops to defend interim government
  • 2007 - African peacekeeping force AMISOM deploys
  • 2011 - Kenya enters Somalia in pursuit of al-Shabab militia

Somalia's New President - Monday Sep 10,2012
Note- Somalia has had transitional administrations since 2004, it has not had a functioning central government since 1991(Somalia has been without an effective central government since President Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991)when warlords overthrew a longtime dictator and turned on each other, plunging the impoverished nation into chaos.

Somalia’s Parliament elected a new president of the country’s fledgling government,a key step toward the east African nation’s transition from a war-torn failed state to a nation with an effective government.

The last day of the eight-year U.N.-backed transitional government was Aug. 20, and the U.N. wanted a new president in place by then. But political bickering, violent threats and seat-buying schemes delayed progress toward the selection and seating of the 275 members of the new Parliament. A total of 269 lawmakers took part in Monday’s presidential vote.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a political newcomer, won the election against outgoing President Sheik Sharif Sheikh Ahmed by the legislative vote of 190 to 79, according to Parliament Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari.The new president was sworn into office immediately after the result.

Last year, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud founded a new political party in Somalia named Peace and Development. Before that he taught locally as a professor, including at the Somali Institute of Management and Administration Development, which he helped found in 1999 to train administrators and technicians to help rebuild Somalia.


Somalia's New President Inaugurated after Assassination Attempt


The new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was inaugurated on Sunday Sep 16,2012 amid tight security in the capital, Mogadishu, four days after President Hassan Skeikh Mohamud survived an assassination attempt.

Somali President Names New PM

Somalia's President on Saturday Oct 6,2012 names Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid, a businessman as the country's new Prime Minister nearly a month after the president was elected

Saaid, a businessman by profession, is a newcomer to Somalia politics. He is expected to form the cabinet within the next few weeks in consultation with the country's president and various other parties.

 Parliament Approves Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid as New PM

Members of Somalia's parliament on Oct 17,2012 have approved the appointment of Abdi Farah Shirdon as the new prime minister. The MPs unanimously backed the ex-businessman, nominated by newly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.


 Somalia Drought - "worst humanitarian disaster" in the world
Drought in Somalia is the "worst humanitarian disaster" in the world.Tens of thousands of people are fleeing drought and famine in Somalia in search of food and water in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.Somalians are walking as far as 50 miles to reach the Dadaab complex in eastern Kenya, the largest refugee camp in the world.

Map locating the famine areas of Somalia

Somali refugees wait to collect food aid at the Kobe refugee camp in southern Ethiopia

UN Agency says that an estimated 2.2 million somalis in desparate need of aid.

World's largest refugee camp is full - Dadaab Complex,Kenya

The Dadaab complex is made up of Ifo, Hagadera and Dagahaley. It is the largest refugee camp in the world and it is full.New arrivals have to settle in makeshift shelters on the outskirts of the camp.The number of people in these camps atleast  440000(as on August  3,2011) even though they were only ever meant to accommodate 90,000 inhabitants.
                                                               Dadaab Complex
 Aerial View of Dadaab Complex

 A Makeshift shelter on the outskirts of the Dadaab Complex Camp


4,000 to 5,000 Somalis who arrive each week at this complex of three refugee camps in Kenya's North Eastern Province, nearly double the rate a year ago.For many, their arrival at the Dadaab Refugee Camp marks the end of a trip of many miles on foot over many days in scorching heat. Several people said they had abandoned along the side of the road friends and relatives too weak to continue. They said they don't know their fate.Those who could afford the fare -- as much as $40 per person -- are ferried in by car from the border, which is 80 kilometers (50 miles) away. But most make the journey on foot. Upon arrival, many say they have had nothing to eat for days.

The lives of an estimated 12 million Somalians have been threatened by the ongoing civil war in Somalia and the worst drought to affect the 'Horn of Africa' in 6decades.

 The Horn of Africa is facing what has been called the worst drought in 60 years, with an estimated 12.4 million people urgently needing food.
 In Ethiopia and Kenya, the situation is grave.Ethiopia has declared 4.8 million in need of urgent assistance, and in Kenya, 3.7 million are at risk. The U.N. estimates that a total of 3.2 million people in Somalia now require immediate, life-saving humanitarian assistance. Of those in urgent need, 2.8 million people reside in southern Somalia. On July 20,2011 the U.N. declared a famine in two regions of Somalia: Lower Shabelle Region and areas of Bakool Region in southern Somalia.Somalis are leaving the south in great numbers, either for the more stable areas in the north or into neighboring countries.
2011 year marks the driest period in the Eastern Horn of Africa region since 1995, with the lowest level of rainfall in more than 50 years.  As a result, food security -- the access and availability to food -- has deteriorated for most households in all arid and semi-arid regions in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia as well as other countries in the region.  In a word, the situation has become a crisis.In all, more than 10 million people in East Africa are affected by the drought. In Somalia, some 3.7 million people are now facing a crisis, while in Kenya the total number of those estimated to be affected is up to 3.5 million.

The UN now classifies large areas of Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya as a crisis or an emergency.Food shortages are expected to reach crisis levels in southern Somalia and refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, and the emergency is unlikely to abate for 3 to 4 months

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