Famine in Somalia
August 5, 2011 By Alicia Ramsay

The United Nations declared three new famine zones in Somalia on Wednesday, August 3, estimating the famine to spread across Somalia's southern regions within the next four to six weeks.

According to the United Nations, over 11 million people are in need of food relief within the Horn of Africa: Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti along with Somalia.

Over 500,000 children are on the verge of starvation as many suffer from malnutrition. Tens of thousands have already died.

The observation of Ramadan, a holy holiday whereby Muslims fast from dawn to dusk for a month, makes it more difficult for believers within Somalia who want to participate.

Many are struggling to feed their families for survival purposes and would be subject to suicide if they fasted.

"I cannot fast because I cannot get food to break it and eat before the morning," said Nur Ahmed, a father of five in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital.

In the south central Somalia region controlled by al-Shabab, a militant group linked to al-Qaida, 2.2 million people face danger.

The militant group won't allow aid from western organizations as they claim outsiders are negative influence to the Somali people.

Somalia is appraised as more dangerous and chaotic than Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan according to The New York Times, with dozens of aid workers killed thus far.

Few Somalis have been successful in fleeing to neighboring nations such as Kenya and Ethiopia for assistance. Those left behind are forced to plead with a currently unstable government in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital for nutriments and medical attention.

"The heartbreaking accounts of lost lives and the images of families and children in Somalia and the Horn of Africa struggling to survive remind us of our common humanity and compel us to act," said President Obama on Monday.

Numerous communities within Somalia have gathered to collect foods for families and individuals through the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Food Program led by Stefano Porretti and hospitals within the area.

Western aid agencies are currently trying to work through Islamic and local organizations to reach the thousands of Somalis victims who are in desperate need of food and medical relief.

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