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58 thoughts on “How to Help Somalia

  1. There are emergency conditions in the northeastern area of Somalia known as Puntland and the northern part of the country, the self-declared independent country of the Somaliland Republic. Al Shabaab does not operate in either area. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason why the US cannot be sending humanitarian assistance immediately into these two Regions before they slip from emergency status to full fledged famine.

    While there are issues raised by the US Government with respect to diversion of humanitarian relief in the south central part of Somalia, which is under Al-Shabaab control, there is a split in Al-Shabaab itself. The locally controlled Al-Shabaab units are in favor of receiving food aid, because it is the members of their clans who are starving and dying. The international wing of Al-Shabaab is ideologically pure and rejects all western aid as a subterfuge to spy on their organization. Unfortunately, as of last week, the US Department of State had not yet issued guidelines for NGOs to distribute humanitarian assistance in the south central portion of Somalia so they would not run a foul of US laws prohibiting aid to terrorist organizations. Remarkably, approximately three weeks ago,in testimony before Congress, the Deputy Assistant for Africa, Amb. Yamamoto, was touting a US assistance program to collect garbage in Mogadishu as an indication of US concern. Given this level of misplaced priorities, I have serious doubts the State Department can intelligently exploit the split in Al-Shabaab. In the meantime, Somali children are dying and will continue to do so despite the best efforts of the international community.

  2. There are emergency conditions in the northeastern area of Somalia known as Puntland and the northern part of the country, the self-declared independent country of the Somaliland Republic. Al Shabaab does not operate in either area. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason why the US cannot be sending humanitarian assistance immediately into these two Regions before they slip from emergency status to full fledged famine.

    While there are issues raised by the US Government with respect to diversion of humanitarian relief in the south central part of Somalia, which is under Al-Shabaab control, there is a split in Al-Shabaab itself. The locally controlled Al-Shabaab units are in favor of receiving food aid, because it is the members of their clans who are starving and dying. The international wing of Al-Shabaab is ideologically pure and rejects all western aid as a subterfuge to spy on their organization. Unfortunately, as of last week, the US Department of State had not yet issued guidelines for NGOs to distribute humanitarian assistance in the south central portion of Somalia so they would not run a foul of US laws prohibiting aid to terrorist organizations. Remarkably, approximately three weeks ago,in testimony before Congress, the Deputy Assistant for Africa, Amb. Yamamoto, was touting a US assistance program to collect garbage in Mogadishu as an indication of US concern. Given this level of misplaced priorities, I have serious doubts the State Department can intelligently exploit the split in Al-Shabaab. In the meantime, Somali children are dying and will continue to do so despite the best efforts of the international community.

  3. The western governments should really make an effort to help somalian peopole instead of wasting money in arms.

  4. It's hard to understand what they're fighting over…The controlling government will be ruling a country of ghosts. God help them. Those poor, starving children, their little innocent faces haunt me

  5. Thank you for your thoughts and comments, Martin, made only more insightful given your long engagement w/ Somalia. You may wish to listen to today’s WBUR/NPR Show ‘On Point” which has a good discussion of some of the issues you raise: http://onpoint.wbur.org/2011/07/27/somalia

  6. The western governments should really make an effort to help somalian peopole instead of wasting money in arms.

  7. It’s hard to understand what they’re fighting over…The controlling government will be ruling a country of ghosts. God help them. Those poor, starving children, their little innocent faces haunt me

  8. I don't have money, but I am broken hearted by the images and reports I have seen regarding the children in the Ethiopia / Somalia area. Can someone tell me how we can help? If I were able to raise money, where is the best place to send it; who will make the best use of it? After the years of fundraising on tv and the consequent scandals and misappropriation of money, people are skeptical about handing money to someone, having no idea where it will go. Also, who do we write and appeal to? Can people adopt families? I work two jobs and have two children, so I am not able to physically go there and help personally, but is it an option for people who can?

    I am willing to do anything in my means to help these people, but what can I do? I am sure many people feel the same. If any of you are able to give any ideas, information, or advice, I would greatly appreciate it. Myself and others struggle here in Las Vegas with its failing economy, but we are in utter luxury compared to these people. I am certain that if we all stand together for these poor, suffering souls, these malnourished and dying children, we can make a difference.

  9. I don’t have money, but I am broken hearted by the images and reports I have seen regarding the children in the Ethiopia / Somalia area. Can someone tell me how we can help? If I were able to raise money, where is the best place to send it; who will make the best use of it? After the years of fundraising on tv and the consequent scandals and misappropriation of money, people are skeptical about handing money to someone, having no idea where it will go. Also, who do we write and appeal to? Can people adopt families? I work two jobs and have two children, so I am not able to physically go there and help personally, but is it an option for people who can?

    I am willing to do anything in my means to help these people, but what can I do? I am sure many people feel the same. If any of you are able to give any ideas, information, or advice, I would greatly appreciate it. Myself and others struggle here in Las Vegas with its failing economy, but we are in utter luxury compared to these people. I am certain that if we all stand together for these poor, suffering souls, these malnourished and dying children, we can make a difference.

  10. Yes. As "sacha" states, please advise on how I may be of help! I am not a wealthy person but am definitely willing to donate time, work, etc…. PLEASE ADVISE!!!

  11. Yes. As “sacha” states, please advise on how I may be of help! I am not a wealthy person but am definitely willing to donate time, work, etc…. PLEASE ADVISE!!!

  12. Thank you Sacha and Cristina for your interest in helping to alleviate to the extent possible the very difficult situation in Somalia and East Africa. Please do not feel powerless to act just because you do not have the means of a Hedge Fund manager or are unable to buy a ticket on the next flight to Moga and volunteer to distribute food off the back of the trucks yourselves.

    You already are using a powerful tool: your computer to communicate. As suggested previously, you may wish to consider writing to your Senator (http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm) and Representative (https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml) requesting that solutions to some of the systemic problems outlined on p. 73 of the recent Amnesty report (http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/afr520012011en.pdf) be pursued. And while you have their attention, I would personally suggest that you ask that they fully back the efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development (http://www.usaid.gov/hornofafrica/) to continue channeling emergency assistance to Somalia. You and I don't have the lift and logistics to get the food, water, and health care to those who need them, but they and others they contract with do have considerable experience in doing so.

    And just because you were not born with a trust fund, doesn't mean you can't consider contributing something: life-saving packages prepared and administered by the professionals containing high-energy biscuits, oral re-hydration solution (http://www.unicef.org.au/Charity-Gifts/Oral-Rehydration-Salts.aspx) and water purification tablets don't cost much more then that cup of joe many of us buy daily on the way to work. Money in just about any amount donated to those who know how to use it is more often then not best (http://www.cidi.org/learn-more). Amnesty is not in the relief business, but others are. In my experience, some (http://www.oxfam.org/eastafrica, http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=5486&cat=field-news) are very good at doing what they do; I would encourage you to contact them and others to see what you can do to help.

    Because you can help.

  13. Thank you Sacha and Cristina for your interest in helping to alleviate to the extent possible the very difficult situation in Somalia and East Africa. Please do not feel powerless to act just because you do not have the means of a Hedge Fund manager or are unable to buy a ticket on the next flight to Moga and volunteer to distribute food off the back of the trucks yourselves.

    You already are using a powerful tool: your computer to communicate. As suggested previously, you may wish to consider writing to your Senator (http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm) and Representative (https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml) requesting that solutions to some of the systemic problems outlined on p. 73 of the recent Amnesty report (http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/afr520012011en.pdf) be pursued. And while you have their attention, I would personally suggest that you ask that they fully back the efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development (http://www.usaid.gov/hornofafrica/) to continue channeling emergency assistance to Somalia. You and I don't have the lift and logistics to get the food, water, and health care to those who need them, but they and others they contract with do have considerable experience in doing so.

    And just because you were not born with a trust fund, doesn't mean you can't consider contributing something: life-saving packages prepared and administered by the professionals containing high-energy biscuits, oral re-hydration solution (http://www.unicef.org.au/Charity-Gifts/Oral-Rehydration-Salts.aspx) and water purification tablets don't cost much more then that cup of joe many of us buy daily on the way to work. Money in just about any amount donated to those who know how to use it is more often then not best (http://www.cidi.org/learn-more). Amnesty is not in the relief business, but others are. In my experience, some (http://www.oxfam.org/eastafrica, http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=5486&cat=field-news) are very good at doing what they do; I would encourage you to contact them and others to see what you can do to help.

    Because you can help.

  14. Thank you Sacha and Cristina for your interest in helping to alleviate to the extent possible the very difficult situation in Somalia and East Africa. Please do not feel powerless to act just because you do not have the means of a Hedge Fund manager or are unable to buy a ticket on the next flight to Moga and volunteer to distribute food off the back of the trucks yourselves.

    You already are using a powerful tool: your computer to communicate. As suggested previously, you may wish to consider writing to your Senator (http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm) and Representative (https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml) requesting that solutions to some of the systemic problems outlined on p. 73 of the recent Amnesty report (http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/afr520012011en.pdf) be pursued. And while you have their attention, I would personally suggest that you ask that they fully back the efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development (http://www.usaid.gov/hornofafrica/) to continue channeling emergency assistance to Somalia. You and I don't have the lift and logistics to get the food, water, and health care to those who need them, but they and others they contract with do have considerable experience in doing so.

    And just because you were not born with a trust fund, doesn't mean you can't consider contributing something: life-saving packages prepared and administered by the professionals containing high-energy biscuits, oral re-hydration solution (http://www.unicef.org.au/Charity-Gifts/Oral-Rehydration-Salts.aspx) and water purification tablets don't cost much more then that cup of joe many of us buy daily on the way to work. Money in just about any amount donated to those who know how to use it is more often then not best (http://www.cidi.org/learn-more). Amnesty is not in the relief business, but others are. In my experience, some (http://www.oxfam.org/eastafrica, http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=5486&cat=field-news) are very good at doing what they do; I would encourage you to contact them and others to see what you can do to help.

    Because you can help.

  15. Thank you Sacha and Cristina for your interest in helping to alleviate to the extent possible the very difficult situation in Somalia and East Africa. Please do not feel powerless to act just because you do not have the means of a Hedge Fund manager or are unable to buy a ticket on the next flight to Moga and volunteer to distribute food off the back of the trucks yourselves.

    You already are using a powerful tool: your computer to communicate. As suggested previously, you may wish to consider writing to your Senator (http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm) and Representative (https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml) requesting that solutions to some of the systemic problems outlined on p. 73 of the recent Amnesty report (http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/afr520012011en.pdf) be pursued. And while you have their attention, I would personally suggest that you ask that they fully back the efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development (http://www.usaid.gov/hornofafrica/) to continue channeling emergency assistance to Somalia. You and I don’t have the lift and logistics to get the food, water, and health care to those who need them, but they and others they contract with do have considerable experience in doing so.

    And just because you were not born with a trust fund, doesn’t mean you can’t consider contributing something: life-saving packages prepared and administered by the professionals containing high-energy biscuits, oral re-hydration solution (http://www.unicef.org.au/Charity-Gifts/Oral-Rehydration-Salts.aspx) and water purification tablets don’t cost much more then that cup of joe many of us buy daily on the way to work. Money in just about any amount donated to those who know how to use it is more often then not best (http://www.cidi.org/learn-more). Amnesty is not in the relief business, but others are. In my experience, some (http://www.oxfam.org/eastafrica, http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=5486&cat=field-news) are very good at doing what they do; I would encourage you to contact them and others to see what you can do to help.

    Because you can help.

  16. where is the arabina kings where is the money that is coming from the oil sham on all the muslem to leave a muslem country starve to death how we will face ALLAH !!!!!!!!! may ALAH have murcy on them .

  17. where is the arabina kings where is the money that is coming from the oil sham on all the muslem to leave a muslem country starve to death how we will face ALLAH !!!!!!!!! may ALAH have murcy on them .

  18. I am in Botswana and i want to know HOW and WHERE do we go if we want to help Somalia.

  19. If the ARAB/ISLAMIC nations donate their bank interest solely then this situation can be improved.It is said that MUSLIM DO NOT ACCEPT BANK INTEREST,hence it would be a wise thing to DONATE BANK INTEREST for this cause.Example – QATAR,UAE,SAUDI ARABIA,OMAN,BAHRAIN etc.

  20. If the ARAB/ISLAMIC nations donate their bank interest solely then this situation can be improved.It is said that MUSLIM DO NOT ACCEPT BANK INTEREST,hence it would be a wise thing to DONATE BANK INTEREST for this cause.Example – QATAR,UAE,SAUDI ARABIA,OMAN,BAHRAIN etc.

  21. Quem gostaria de me ajudar a judar a população da Somália. Eu pretendo ir pessoalmente na Somália, quem sabe com alimentação (principalmente), alimentando a cada criança. Sou mãe e passei por problemas sérios de doença. Graças a Deus e a minha mãe que me alimentou pouco a pouco, de colher em colher que estou hoje aqui bastante sensibilizada. Meu coração corta de tanta tristeza quando vejo os pequeninos morrendo a cada segundo de fome e sede e outros. Ajudem a ajudar os pequeninos da Somália

  22. Farah, Kassy and Helper, vamos nos unir para ajudar esse povo sofrido. Estou tentando uma forma de pedir ajuda, pois precisamos fazer alguma coisa.

  23. Quem gostaria de me ajudar a judar a população da Somália. Eu pretendo ir pessoalmente na Somália, quem sabe com alimentação (principalmente), alimentando a cada criança. Sou mãe e passei por problemas sérios de doença. Graças a Deus e a minha mãe que me alimentou pouco a pouco, de colher em colher que estou hoje aqui bastante sensibilizada. Meu coração corta de tanta tristeza quando vejo os pequeninos morrendo a cada segundo de fome e sede e outros. Ajudem a ajudar os pequeninos da Somália

  24. Farah, Kassy and Helper, vamos nos unir para ajudar esse povo sofrido. Estou tentando uma forma de pedir ajuda, pois precisamos fazer alguma coisa.

  25. If you want to raise any cash, I suggest you re-name your campaign "How to Help East Africa".

    "How to Help Somalia" must rank as the least effective charity appeal slogan in recent memory. I'll bet most ordinary Westerners will think of that classic quote from 'Aliens' "nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure" when the word 'Somalia' impinges on their consciousness. The comments on the HuffPost site proves my point.

    I feel desperately sad for the innocent children and their parents who are experiencing this man-made disaster. But Somalia's past history and current problems encountered by aid agencies will mean a very tardy response to this appeal.

  26. If you want to raise any cash, I suggest you re-name your campaign “How to Help East Africa”.

    “How to Help Somalia” must rank as the least effective charity appeal slogan in recent memory. I’ll bet most ordinary Westerners will think of that classic quote from ‘Aliens’ “nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure” when the word ‘Somalia’ impinges on their consciousness. The comments on the HuffPost site proves my point.

    I feel desperately sad for the innocent children and their parents who are experiencing this man-made disaster. But Somalia’s past history and current problems encountered by aid agencies will mean a very tardy response to this appeal.

  27. Por favor, demos un poquito de lo mucho que tenemos informense en sus paises donde puede donar, veran que se vera recompensado, piensen tan solo si ustedes estuvieran en la misma situacion ? si tan solo cuando nos da hambre y no comemos se siente horrible, imagen lo que es ese sentir cuando de antemano se sabe que no hay nada para comer, ojala y se sensibilizen un poco y donemos tan solo un poco de lo que tenemos. saludos a todos

  28. Por favor, demos un poquito de lo mucho que tenemos informense en sus paises donde puede donar, veran que se vera recompensado, piensen tan solo si ustedes estuvieran en la misma situacion ? si tan solo cuando nos da hambre y no comemos se siente horrible, imagen lo que es ese sentir cuando de antemano se sabe que no hay nada para comer, ojala y se sensibilizen un poco y donemos tan solo un poco de lo que tenemos. saludos a todos

  29. I am very Far away in South America I am a mother of 2 and thanks God nothing is missing for my kids. BUT I cannot close my eyes when I see pictures of kids starving to death.

    How can I help? We can raise foods or something to help I really want to do it.
    What are your ideas? Please share them with me….

  30. I am very Far away in South America I am a mother of 2 and thanks God nothing is missing for my kids. BUT I cannot close my eyes when I see pictures of kids starving to death.

    How can I help? We can raise foods or something to help I really want to do it.
    What are your ideas? Please share them with me….

  31. It's difficult acknowledging the limits of the doable in such complex situations – on the one hand, most of us who have a computer and internet access with which to read this live in relative abundance and – yes – naturally want to do what we can to alleviate and mitigate what we read, hear and see in print, bytes, sounds and images beamed from far away. On the other hand, and anyone who has spent time in Africa – and particularly Somalia, knows this viscerally: there is no magic wand – never was, and never will be – which will make everything turn out OK in the end.

    Its already not OK.
    And its far from the end.

    Check out these two updates which paint a grim but realistic portrait of where things stand today:
    “Assuming current levels of response continue, famine is expected to spread further over the coming four months.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/world/africa/06somalia.html?_r=1&hp); and
    "There is a con, there is an unrealistic expectation being peddled that you give your £50 and suddenly those people are going to have food to eat. Well, no. We need that £50, yes; we will spend it with integrity. But people need to understand the reality of the challenges in delivering that aid. We don't have the right to hide it from people; we have a responsibility to engage the public with the truth." (http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/sep/03/charity-aid-groups-misleading-somalia)

    And that last one is from the head of one of the best humanitarian organizations in the world whose people go into the fray daily – I know, because I have seen them at work in places where I was just focusing on getting out… while they were staying put and doing their work.

    So give up, turn the page, change channels, work on attaining the next level of Angry Birds instead?

    No, go to the top of this thread and get to work on some of the short and long term steps suggested there. If you have a better idea, then do that, too.

  32. It's difficult acknowledging the limits of the doable in such complex situations – on the one hand, most of us who have a computer and internet access with which to read this live in relative abundance and – yes – naturally want to do what we can to alleviate and mitigate what we read, hear and see in print, bytes, sounds and images beamed from far away. On the other hand, and anyone who has spent time in Africa – and particularly Somalia, knows this viscerally: there is no magic wand – never was, and never will be – which will make everything turn out OK in the end.

    Its already not OK.
    And its far from the end.

    Check out these two updates which paint a grim but realistic portrait of where things stand today:
    “Assuming current levels of response continue, famine is expected to spread further over the coming four months.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/world/africa/06somalia.html?_r=1&hp); and
    "There is a con, there is an unrealistic expectation being peddled that you give your £50 and suddenly those people are going to have food to eat. Well, no. We need that £50, yes; we will spend it with integrity. But people need to understand the reality of the challenges in delivering that aid. We don't have the right to hide it from people; we have a responsibility to engage the public with the truth." (http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/sep/03/charity-aid-groups-misleading-somalia)

    And that last one is from the head of one of the best humanitarian organizations in the world whose people go into the fray daily – I know, because I have seen them at work in places where I was just focusing on getting out… while they were staying put and doing their work.

    So give up, turn the page, change channels, work on attaining the next level of Angry Birds instead?

    No, go to the top of this thread and get to work on some of the short and long term steps suggested there. If you have a better idea, then do that, too.

  33. It's difficult acknowledging the limits of the doable in such complex situations – on the one hand, most of us who have a computer and internet access with which to read this live in relative abundance and – yes – naturally want to do what we can to alleviate and mitigate what we read, hear and see in print, bytes, sounds and images beamed from far away. On the other hand, and anyone who has spent time in Africa – and particularly Somalia, knows this viscerally: there is no magic wand – never was, and never will be – which will make everything turn out OK in the end.

    Its already not OK.
    And its far from the end.

    Check out these two updates which paint a grim but realistic portrait of where things stand today:
    “Assuming current levels of response continue, famine is expected to spread further over the coming four months.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/world/africa/06somalia.html?_r=1&hp); and
    "There is a con, there is an unrealistic expectation being peddled that you give your £50 and suddenly those people are going to have food to eat. Well, no. We need that £50, yes; we will spend it with integrity. But people need to understand the reality of the challenges in delivering that aid. We don't have the right to hide it from people; we have a responsibility to engage the public with the truth." (http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/sep/03/charity-aid-groups-misleading-somalia)

    And that last one is from the head of one of the best humanitarian organizations in the world whose people go into the fray daily – I know, because I have seen them at work in places where I was just focusing on getting out… while they were staying put and doing their work.

    So give up, turn the page, change channels, work on attaining the next level of Angry Birds instead?

    No, go to the top of this thread and get to work on some of the short and long term steps suggested there. If you have a better idea, then do that, too.

  34. It’s difficult acknowledging the limits of the doable in such complex situations – on the one hand, most of us who have a computer and internet access with which to read this live in relative abundance and – yes – naturally want to do what we can to alleviate and mitigate what we read, hear and see in print, bytes, sounds and images beamed from far away. On the other hand, and anyone who has spent time in Africa – and particularly Somalia, knows this viscerally: there is no magic wand – never was, and never will be – which will make everything turn out OK in the end.

    Its already not OK.
    And its far from the end.

    Check out these two updates which paint a grim but realistic portrait of where things stand today:
    “Assuming current levels of response continue, famine is expected to spread further over the coming four months.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/world/africa/06somalia.html?_r=1&hp); and
    “There is a con, there is an unrealistic expectation being peddled that you give your £50 and suddenly those people are going to have food to eat. Well, no. We need that £50, yes; we will spend it with integrity. But people need to understand the reality of the challenges in delivering that aid. We don’t have the right to hide it from people; we have a responsibility to engage the public with the truth.” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/sep/03/charity-aid-groups-misleading-somalia)

    And that last one is from the head of one of the best humanitarian organizations in the world whose people go into the fray daily – I know, because I have seen them at work in places where I was just focusing on getting out… while they were staying put and doing their work.

    So give up, turn the page, change channels, work on attaining the next level of Angry Birds instead?

    No, go to the top of this thread and get to work on some of the short and long term steps suggested there. If you have a better idea, then do that, too.

  35. Can i donate bottled water, rice? Im from Malaysia and really wanna do something.