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In pictures: A photo essay from war-torn Somalia

Striking images from Somalia, where the worst drought in the region for 60 years is affecting some 7 million people.

INTERNATIONAL AID organisations have issued urgent appeals for assistance in tackling the worst drought to strike Africa in 60 years.

Concern Worldwide says that over 10 million people are affected by the drought covering parts of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, where the prolonged drought has destroyed crops. Meanwhile, animals are dying from dehydration and a lack of basic nutrition and food prices have risen drastically.

The organisation’s overseas director Paul O’Brien said “urgent and coordinated action must be taken now to prevent a potential nightmare scenario unfolding in the East Africa region”.

Concern has launched a special appeal to support those affected by the drought.

The situation has become so severe in Somalia that the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic militant group Al-Shabab has suspended its ban on foreign aid in the country in a bid to help alleviate the impact of the drought. The group said that any aid organisation, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, can now operate in Somalia as long as they “do not hide some special purposes”, local media reports.

All images courtesy of Phil Moore/Concern Worldwide and all photo captions by Concern Worldwide:

In pictures: A photo essay from war-torn Somalia
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  • Somalia

    One of the poorest countries in the world, Somalia has been devastated by over 20 years of conflict. Almost half the population are children under the age of 18, who have never known their country without war. Despite this, Somali people are among the most resilient in the world. Ordinary people persevere in the face of incredible odds to make a better life for themselves and their children. Drought has forced a new wave of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to the capital, Mogadishu. The current drought has affected more than 7 million people in the region. It has been described as the most severe food security emergency in the world today. Concern Worldwide has worked in Somalia for 25 years. Throughout that time, strong links with local communities to reach the most vulnerable, and to help provide clean water, sanitation, education, livelihoods, food and nutritional care, especially for mothers and children.
  • Somalia

    Amin Hassan Abdi was caught in crossfire in Mogadishu. Hit by a stray bullet in his neck, he has been in one of the city's poorly-equipped hospitals for the past 43 days. The director of the hospital estimates that 95 per cent of their admissions are related to the conflict, the majority of them are civilians.
  • Somalia

    Halima Mohamed lives in an IDP camp in Mogadishu with her family. Over 1.4m Somalis are estimated to be displaced within Somalia and a further 650,000 people are refugees in neighbouring countries.
  • Somalia

    The conditions in the camps are often very poor, with few opportunities for employment, little medical care or even food. Two-year-old Nima Abdirahmen Yahye is suffering from measles, but her mother is forced to use traditional treatment made from the leaves of a local tree, as access to health services is limited. Concern has now begun to work in these camps providing basic health services.
  • Somalia

    Drought has affected the wider Horn of Africa region. Mako Abdi Ali came from Ethiopia in search of humanitarian assistance in the camps of Mogadishu.
  • Somalia

    Sheik Abdulahi Abdiyow lost his entire herd of 37 cattle and 90 goats, forcing him to leave his rural home, seeking help in one of Mogadishu's IDP camps. Pastoralists have lost many of their herds due to the drought caused by the failure of last year’s rains and poor rainfall this year. The carcasses of dead livestock litter the roadsides in rural areas. The loss of animals for pastoralists means a loss of their livelihood and their assets. The drought has made many people destitute, with no assets to rebuild their lives.
  • Somalia

    Many of those who fled from the impact of drought in rural areas have come to Mogadishu in search of support. People from one rural area have formed a new camp in an old colonial area of the city. In a cruel twist, rains have now hit Mogadishu. Though well below the normal level, the rains have left stagnant water around the camp, creating public health risks such as malaria and other water borne diseases.
  • Somalia

    Hawo Madey and her family watched their entire herd die. After losing two of their children to malnutrition, they decided to flee to Mogadishu, hoping for the opportunity to find food. The day before this photograph was taken, they lost their third child, with a fourth child dangerously ill from malnutrition in his mother's arms. One in four children is malnourished in South Somalia. In some areas, over 30 per cent of children are malnourished; one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world and double the international threshold for a nutrition emergency.
  • Somalia

    Fakia has suffered a similar fate. Having lost her two-year-old daughter the previous day, she now watches her remaining children's health deteriorate. Traumatised, she says that she does not know how long she has been here, living just 1km from the very fluid frontline of fighting in Mogadishu.
  • Somalia

    At a temporary site for a near-by school, students share their learning space with families arriving in the city after fleeing the impact of the drought in rural areas. The school has already changed sites several times, because of the shifting front-line. Concern’s education programme supports three community schools in Mogadishu. Concern also supports over 1,500 children that have been displaced or affected by the conflict with a holistic child support package that involves education, a safe haven for recreation and psycho-social support.
  • Somalia

    As well as treating children for malnutrition, the Concern health team administer other medicines and support pregnant and lactating mothers with micro-nutrient supplements and health advice. Concern successfully treats 93 per cent of severely malnourished children admitted to their programme within two months.
  • Somalia

    Faadumo Mohamed Muudeey clutches her Concern-issued identification card as she waits to receive this month's food voucher.

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