Monday, July 25, 2011 | Categories: Episodes
Part Two of The Current
Somali Famine Crisis - Kiki Gbeho
We started this segment with tape from just a few of the thousands of people fleeing the famine in Southern Somalia. Many of them are heading for refugee camps in neighbouring Kenya, but as you can hear, not all of them will make it. The United Nations says tens of thousands of Somalis have already died as a result of the famine and that at least three-and-a-half million Somalis are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
The UN World Food Programme has begun airlifting relief to Somalia, but it's not clear if that aid will get through. Al-Shabab -- a militant Islamist group that controls much of the country -- says it won't allow aid workers into areas under its control. It also accuses the UN of exaggerating the scale of the problem for propaganda purposes.
So now, governments and aid groups find themselves having to negotiate access to starving people with a group many Western countries -- including Canada -- have designated a terrorist organization and which allegedly has links to Al Qaeda.
The United Nations is holding an emergency meeting today, to talk about how to respond to the situation.
Kiki Gbeho is the Head of the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Somalia. She was in Nairobi, Kenya this morning.
Somali Famine Crisis - Patrick Webb
Several million people have died in famines in the Sahel, in Ethiopia, in Sudan, and in Somalia over the decades. But the fact that this latest famine in Somalia could happen - despite the early warnings - is seen by many - as a sign of complete failure on the part of the international community.
For thoughts on what's led to this famine, we were joined by Patrick Webb. He was the head of nutrition for the UN's World Food Programme until 2005. He's the author of several books, including two about famine in Africa. He's been a consultant on hunger and food security for the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and has reported to the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Now, he's a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University in Boston. Today, we've reached him in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, where he's attending an international meeting on long-term food security.
Last Word - Rabbi Simes Promo
We ended the program this morning with a preview of a documentary you can hear later this week on The Current. Rabbi Yehuda Simes is one of the most popular teachers at the Hillel Academy, a Jewish school in Ottawa.
A little over a year ago, he was paralyzed in a car accident. Last spring, with Passover approaching, the story of Exodus began to take on a special meaning for him and his family. The Current's Howard Goldenthal produced a documentary called The Unfinished Journey of Rabbi Simes. It first aired on The Current in April and we'll have a repeat presentation for you later this week.
Other segment from today's show: