by Peter Goodspeed, National Post
It has become the "worst humanitarian disaster in the world," said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.
The situation is grave," said Stephen GwynneVaughan, the country director of CARE in Kenya. "Thousands of Somalis are walking for weeks to reach the camp, many of them arriving acutely malnourished, dehydrated, with nothing but the clothes on their backs."
"This may become the worst food crisis of the 21st century," warned Hasnat Ahsan, a humanitarian officer at Oxfam Canada. "Large numbers of lives could soon be lost. People have already lost virtually everything and the crisis is going to get worse over the coming months."
Two years of severe drought, exacerbated by high local cereal prices, massive livestock deaths and a raging civil war that restricts humanitarian assistance to most of central and southern Somalia, are driving tens of thousands of impoverished pastoralists and subsistence farmers from their land.
Region-wide, the Horn of Africa is facing the worst food crisis in the world, with over 12 million people severely affected in drought-stricken areas of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Uganda.