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Somalia's Growing Disease Crisis Essay

1163 words - 5 pages

Roughly 40 years ago, the blue-green waters along with a strong Mediterranean resemblance, once made Somalia, particularly Mogadishu, the country’s capital, a bustling tourist haven. Mogadishu was considered one the cleanest and safest cities in Africa. Sadly, the Somalia of yesterday is no more. Today, Somalia is considered one the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. Presently, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes and are suffering from starvation and disease. Two major factors are contributing toward Somalia growing disease crisis; drought and civil war. (Langfitt)
Somalia has been suffering from the worst drought seen decades. Drought situations have caused malnutrition rates to soar throughout Somalia. In fact, malnutrition rates in Somalia are among the highest in the world: in the south, one in four children will die before reaching the age of five. Drought conditions have caused low food and feed supplies, which had led to malnutrition, which leads to low immune systems leaving the people of Somalia more susceptible to disease and death. (Langfitt)
The Somali climate is divided into four seasons; the gu, hagaa, day, and the jiilaal. The gu is the main rainy season, typically lasting late March through late June. Gu is followed by a short dry spell, the hagaa that lasts from June through September, and with the end of the hagaa, comes the second rainy season, the day. The day begins in October and ends in late November. The cycle of seasons is completed by the long dry season known as the jiilall, which starts in December and continues until the onset of the gu.
The gu season is the most plentiful of the four. The rains help to produce a fresh supply of pasture and for a few short months turns the desert into a flowering garden. Lush vegetation covers most of the land, especially the central grazing plateau where grass grows tall (Butler). It’s during the gu that water is plentiful, livestock flourishes, making meat and milk abound. Because the gu season is so fruitful, the herds and people of Somalia are able to stockpile supplies which enable them to manage through the hagaa.
Unfortunately, it is the long dry season of the jiilaal that is the harshest. Wet season staples become drastically reduced during the jiilaal. Hunger is endemic among pastoralists during the jiilaal season and derives from several factors relating to the weakened condition of livestock and a scarcity of water and pasture. Thus, dairy products, particularly milk, that form an essential component of the Somali diet. With prices of emaciated livestock plummeting due to the shortage of water and grazing, the prices of locally produced and imported foods significantly increase. (Dr. Ahmed Yusuf Farah).
Food prices throughout Somalia were already considered high before the drought, mostly due to the state of civil unrest, which greatly inhibits trade among traders. Due to the lack of...

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