Famine and Conflict in Somalia: What can bring relief?

Talk September 28, 2011 7:00 PM

Caught between political instability, conflict and violence, whilst famine and drought destroy the people and the land, there is seemingly little that can be done to bring relief to Somalia

Aid envoys have been restricted from reaching over 2.2 million refugees in the Al-Shabab controlled region of South-Central Somalia, and refugees have to brave fighting in conflict zones in Mogadishu in order to collect food provisions.

As land access is blocked, the UN is considering airlifts to distribute food and water to the refugees.

Aid agencies have been criticised for not acting sooner and making provisions for prevention, as the famine and drought in the Horn of Africa were deemed “predictable.” Does the international aid system need to step up its efforts and produce a more coordinated response? And what lessons can we learn for the future about prevention rather than cure?

Join us at the Frontline club with an expert panel to discuss the role of the international aid system, and what more can be done to bring relief to this war -torn and famine-stricken country.

Chaired by Mike Wooldridge, BBC World Affairs Correspondent.


Abdi Garad, chairman of Central Committee of Somali National Party (Hanoolaato) a grass root based non clan, non regional and diverse political movement. He is actively involved in humanitarian work, through local Somali NGO, Markabley Development Trust and worked with the UNISOM mission in Somalia from 1993-95. He is currently in southern Somalia, working at a feeding famine victim  centres.

Jehangir Malik is the UK Director of Islamic Relief, an international aid and development NGO. It has a significant presence in East Africa and has been one of the few agencies to get into South Central Somalia.

Duncan McLean, operations manager at Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) based in the United States. He manages MSF programs in Nigeria, Uganda, Haiti, Ethiopia and Somalia.  His work at MSF has included Head of Mission in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Nepal, and Chad, and Field Coordinator in Sudan, Thailand, and Myanmar. In addition to his humanitarian field work he has lectured at a number of universities, including Charles University and the Anglo-American University in Prague, and worked as a journalist.

Ridwaan Haji, programme producer and Newscaster at Universal TV, the biggest Somali Satellite TV station. He raised a campaign on his programme Have Your Say to free the Chandlers, a British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates last year. During Ramadan the channel raised nearly a million dollars to support those effected by famine in Somalia.

Jamal Osman, award-winning journalist and filmmaker specialising in Africa. He runs Jamal Media, a production company that makes current affairs programes for British broadcasters. He has won several awards including the Amnesty International’s Gaby Rado Memorial Award 2010 and the news story of the year prize at the Foreign Press Association Awards 2009.

Image Credit: Andy Hall – Oxfam