Thursday, July 21, 2011
By Abdi Guled and Katharine Houreld, Associated Press
Neighboring Kenya also expressed concern Thursday about security threats posed by the large number of hungry Somali refugees and suggested food should be dropped by plane inside Somalia.
A Somali woman from southern Somalia gives milk to her malnourished son in their makeshift shelter in Mogadishu, Somalia, Thursday, July 21, 2011. Thousands of people have arrived in Mogadishu over the past two weeks seeking assistance and the number is increasing by the day, due to lack of water and food. (AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)
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Tens of thousands of hungry Somalis have flooded refugee camps in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia in search of help.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said his government is concerned about the security threat posed by those refugees, and he urged aid groups to set up feeding camps in areas of Somalia not controlled by the militant group al-Shabab.
“It is possible to set up food camps there and tents so that they can live there,” Odinga said. “Once (refugees) come to Kenya they don’t want to go back. They say it is better to die in Kenya than in Somalia.”
The government spokesman said Kenya would like to see food aid dropped by planes into Somalia to slow the influx of refugees.
In Mogadishu, the African Union envoy to Somalia, Jerry Rawlings, who wept as he told desperate Somalis seeking food that “I will knock on every door I can to help you.” Soldiers beat back a rush of families during a handout of food aid.
Somalia’s 20-year-old civil war is partly to blame for turning the drought in the Horn of Africa into a famine. Analysts warned that aid agencies could be airlifting emergency supplies to the failed state 20 years from now unless the U.N.-backed government improves.