By Justin Kempf
A Famine in Somalia
I am well aware the United Nations describes the catastrophe in Somalia as a drought rather than a famine. While the semantics might have legal implications, they do not bring much comfort to the families who suffer immeasurable loss. Last year alone 43,000 people died from hunger in Somalia. About half of the deaths came from children under five years of age. The death of a child so young must bring about unimaginable sorrow for their parents. But when so many die, it also means an even larger number suffered from severe hunger and malnutrition. Unfortunately, the tragedy is not over. The New York Times reports researchers expect another 18,000 to 34,000 to die in the first six months of this year.
Very few people realize such a tragedy is unfolding in Somalia. Part of the reason is the limited coverage in the press. However, the coverage is not nonexistent. The Economist covered it as early as last July, but none since then. Meanwhile, The New York Times has provided sporadic coverage over the past few months. Obviously, chronic suffering is difficult for a news organization to cover. It unfolds slowly so it can sound repetitive. The story does not change much from month to month. It largely stays the same. Yet this is the problem. It is easy to ignore so the problem remains unsolved.
At the same time, the coverage of migration into Europe is widespread and well-known. Yet the reasons for migration largely go underreported. Whether it involves famine in Somalia or political instability in the Sahel, these are important events with global implications. We should take a moment to recognize global events like these. Likewise, we should say a prayer for those who suffer.
About the Author
Justin Kempf manages this blog and hosts the podcast Democracy Paradox. He lives with his family in Carmel, Indiana.
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