This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Thursday, August 4, 2011

East Africa Famine Worsens into "A Vision of Hell"

The famine in the Horn of Africa, especially Somalia, is getting worse, not better, according to all reports. The problem started with the worst drought in 60 years but is compounded by the fact that it is centered in a region of Somalia that is controlled by a militant group--Shebab--that is determined not to allow food aid to reach the victims. The victims are disproportionately children.

Across the sprawling mass of the Dadaab refugee camp - some 50 km sq (19 sq miles) - there are several graveyards now, full of small mounds of earth, where chronically malnourished Somali refugees have been buried.
Usually the graves are horribly small: infant mortality in this camp has risen threefold in the last few months, according to the United Nations.
Infants - children aged five and under - are especially vulnerable to malnutrition and all the illnesses and diseases which frequently accompany it, such as pneumonia and diarrhoea.
For the moment there is little hope of things better any time soon. Food aid is coming only slowly and what comes is impeded by militants, and the weather is not cooperating. 

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