Famine in East Africa Logistical Nightmare Hinders Aid Efforts in Somalia

Millions are starving and parents are watching their children die. Meanwhile militant groups are terrorizing the region. The situation in the Horn of Africa is becoming increasingly desperate. Aid organizations are facing enormous difficulties in their attempts to help hundreds of thousands of those suffering, but it's a race against time they seem to be losing.

AP

In the refugee camps, aid workers encounter sick people and emaciated children too weak to swallow food. They see parents who must bury their own babies after watching them starve to death. Many more people die before they even reach the camp. The world has been watching as people in East Africa go hungry. Now, the international community is finally taking action. Germany has doubled its relief aid to the famine-plagued region, and dramatic appeals from aid organizations are starting to have an impact. The most disastrous effects of the drought are being witnessed in Somalia, and the situation is worsening with each day.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 Somalis are arriving daily in the Dadaab refugee camp in neighboring Kenya, as well as Ethiopia's Dollo Ado camp. Others are seeking safety in the embattled Somali capital of Mogadishu. The United Nations is planning an airlift that will bring supplies to the unstable city, including a special protein-rich, peanut-based paste meant to feed the hungry.

But the aid isn't reaching the people still stuck in the country's crisis areas. In southern Somalia, some 2.2. million people are starving. The al-Shabab militant group reigns over large parts of the region and prevents urgently needed emergency aid from reaching those who are suffering.

But will greater aid money translate into more help? SPIEGEL ONLINE lays out the logistical nightmare that must be navigated to deliver relief supplies -- and the problems that aid workers face each step of the way.

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