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Somalis flee famine and conflict

Thursday, August 04, 2011 - 01:50

Aug. 4 - As famine spreads in Southern Somalia some flee to war-torn Mogadishu while others seek help in Ethiopia and Kenya. Lily Grimes reports.

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Desperate to flee, but where to? As famine spreads across conflict-riven Somalia the choices are bleak. Tens of thousands of displaced people head to the capital, among them is Maka Mohamed. (SOUNDBITE) (Somali) DISPLACED PERSON, MAKA MOHAMED, SAYING: "We have been walking for more than three days now to reach Mogadishu, we lost everything we owned due to drought. We are tired and hungry, we do not know anyone in Mogadishu. That is why we are sitting on the pavement." Others make the arduous journey to the UN refugee camp at Dalo Ado across the Ethiopian border. The World Food Programme's Judith Muller says the situation here is dire especially for the young. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WFP ETHIOPIA PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, JUDITH MULLER, SAYING: "For the newly-arrived children under five, the malnutrition rate is up to 50 percent. This is the extreme, more than three times the emergency level." As refugee agencies struggle to meet growing demand Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey makes a plea for help when she visits Dadaab in northern Kenya. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF SWITZERLAND, MICHELINE CALMY-REY, SAYING: "A lot has been done until now but it is not enough, the international community has to make a bit more in order to save the lives of these people in order to allow them to live in a good, yeah to have a good life to have a future." The United Nations estimates 3.7 million people face hunger in Somalia. The ongoing civil war makes any journey hazardous but for these people starvation is the only alternative. Lily Grimes, Reuters

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Somalis flee famine and conflict

Thursday, August 04, 2011 - 01:50