It's been nearly a month since the United Nations declared a famine in Somalia, and the situation continues to deteriorate. An estimated 2.8 million Somalis are still at risk of dying from starvation. And now, a cholera outbreak is spreading across the country. The UN World Health Organization reports that 181 people have died from suspected cholera cases in a single hospital in Mogadishu, and there have been several other confirmed outbreaks elsewhere.
Meanwhile, a new report has emerged documenting how the Islamic group al-Shabab has consistently blocked humanitarian aid, repressed the population and arrested anyone trying to flee to refugee camps. One refugee said members of al-Shabab told him "we don't want the food of disbelievers," and observers say that the Islamist militia is still carrying out "public beheadings and floggings," as well as forcibly recruiting adults and children into its forces.
The report, from Human Rights Watch, also levels criticism at groups in the west for failing to exert pressure to stop the abuses, as well as accusing the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia of carrying out arbitrary arrests and detentions. Even some of those who've managed to escape the country have faced further horrors, including rape and extortion, allegedly by Kenyan police.