It is with great sadness that the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) confirms that two of its staff members were killed Thursday morning as a result of a shooting at the MSF compound in Mogadishu, Somalia.
While one of the aid workers died during the shooting, the other was transferred to a hospital and died following surgery Thursday evening. The victims are Belgian and Indonesian nationals.
The exact circumstances of the shooting are not yet clear. MSF’s immediate priority is to take care of those most affected by this tragedy, in particular the families and colleagues of the victims.
MSF will be relocating some staff from Somalia for security reasons but remains committed to continuing its humanitarian work in Mogadishu and elsewhere in Somalia.
Today is World Humanitarian Day! Celebrate the spirit of people helping people by watching and sharing this new video and special song produced for the day featuring humanitarian workers and some of our favourite celebrity supporters in action.
The slow-motion disaster of the food crisis in the Horn of Africa is truly horrifying. Last Wednesday the United Nations declared a famine in two large regions of Somalia; 3.7 million people, nearly half the country’s population, are affected. The crisis is larger than just Somalia. Right now the devastating drought in the region means that more than 11 million people need food aid across Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.
With East Africa facing its worst drought in 60 years, affecting more than 11 million people, the United Nations has declared a famine in the region for the first time in a generation. Overcrowded refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia are receiving some 3,000 new refugees every day, as families flee from famine-stricken and war-torn areas. The meager food and water that used to support millions in the Horn of Africa is disappearing rapidly, and families strong enough to flee for survival must travel up to a hundred miles, often on foot, hoping to make it to a refugee center, seeking food and aid. Many do not survive the trip. Officials warn that 800,000 children could die of malnutrition across the East African nations of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Kenya. Aid agencies are frustrated by many crippling situations: the slow response of Western governments, local governments and terrorist groups blocking access, terrorist and bandit attacks, and anti-terrorism laws that restrict who the aid groups can deal with — not to mention the massive scale of the current crisis.
Above: Somali refugees who recently crossed the border from Somalia into southern Ethiopia cluster between two food tents as they wait to be called to collect food aid at the Kobe refugee camp, on July 19, 2011. Ethiopian authorities and non-governmental organizations have accommodated almost 25,000 refugees at the camp since it was set up less then three weeks ago. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)
See more heartbreaking photos at In Focus. One immediate way to help is to text “FOOD” to UNICEF (864233) to donate $10, enough to feed a child for 10 days, more ways to help listed here.
Amnesty International says the systematic recruitment of child soldiers, many of them under the age of 15, is escalating in Somalia.
In a report released Wednesday, the rights group says Somali children risk death all the time.
It says children recruited as soldiers are injured and killed, and those separated from parents are forced to make it on their own, under the threat of attacks by al-Shabab militants.
The Amnesty report says most child soldiers are recruited by al-Shabab. It says the militant group lures children into becoming soldiers with the promise of money and phones. Amnesty says the group raids and destroys schools and even abducts children in plain view.
Amnesty also accuses Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government of using, killing and maiming children in armed conflict. [read more]
Somali refugees grow up, help new generation: These four Somali men went to Kenya in the early ’90s as “lost boys,” and now find themselves — 20 years later — helping with the country’s current humanitarian crisis, as a new generation of Somali refugees find themselves in Kenya. As one refugee-turned-aid-worker, Abdur Rahman Elmoge, puts it: “I can’t remember what it was like to stand here as a two-year-old … but if I had to compare the situation today with the situation over the past 20 years, I’d say that there aren’t significant differences.”