Affairs

Government

Hunger for peace— Somalia

Preface

With the sudden exit from Mogadishu of Islamist insurgents, life in the Somali capital has shifted yet again. Just as war has abated, famine has arrived. Who can fix this ravaged city?

Banadir Hospital, President Sheikh Sharif, Transitional Federal Government, al-Shabaab

It was a fairly typical day in Mogadishu: from first light automatic rifle fire could be heard and it was soon joined by heavier machine guns and then mortars and artillery. By late afternoon there was a cacophony of booms, bangs and explosions yet my host insisted this was “a quiet day”. It’s been like this for the best part of 20 years, civil war rendering Mogadishu a monument to humanity’s determined capacity for destruction.

There was no Dresden or Hiroshima moment here, no single cataclysm that turned the city to ruins. It has taken years of…

  • 7.5 million population
  • 3.7 million people in need of food aid
  • 1.46 million displaced inside the country
  • 400,000 in refugee camps in neighbouring Kenya
  • 20 years since the last functioning central government fell
  • 14 international-led peace processes
  • 9,000 African Union troops in Mogadishu
  • $576.4m has been donated to the relief operation – 47 per cent of the total needed

Monocle 24

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