International Aid

How to really help Somalia

Published on 28 July 2011 at 11:09


“The United Nations does its fighting famine airlift number,” headlines German daily Tageszeitung referring to the landing in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, of a plane of emergency aid, sent by the World Food Programme (WFP), for children affected by the famine there. Over 12 million inhabitants of the Horn of Africa are in danger, with 400,000 displaced persons are in Mogadishu, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). A thousand new arrivals flow into the capital each day.

“When the UN sends a plane full of emergency food to Somalia is it a communications offensive or the beginning of a determined aid effort?” queries the Berlin alternative daily. “Both responses are correct, that’s one of the paradoxes of [this] famine,” the paper says, adding, “But naturally, we are dealing with hard-core spin when the WFP uses “airlift” to refer to a flight of freight landing at a normal airport, used for commercial ends”.

Without calling into question the need for emergency aid, TAZ notes that real aid consists of supporting the productive forces in a country long before the spiral of pauperisation has begun. Somalia, the paper says, “is an exporter of food. It sold over 4 million farm animals to the Arab world and even today, it supplies sugar and rice to its neighbours”.

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