21st Jun 2021

EU steps up aid to famine-stricken Somalis

  • Georgieva at a refugee camp in Kenya (Photo: European Commission)

The EU on Wednesday (27 July) said it would double its humanitarian aid to €158 million in Somalia referring to the "very dramatic" drought and famine in the country.

"What I saw there is heartbreaking, families that have walked 20-30 days in the hope to cross the border to Ethiopia. They would all prefer to have aid delivered to them in Somalia," EU aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said after returning from the region.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Women and children, even if they managed to get to the refugee camps in Kenya or Ethiopia, were often already too weak to survive, she said.

"It's a recipe for disaster for the world to accept a failed state, particularly in this part of the world," Georgieva warned.

She noted, however, that even the anti-government militias in Somalia have to be approached and that the al Shabab terrorist organisation - a "dragon with many heads" - has some chiefs willing to deliver aid.

The International Red Cross said it had managed to deliver 400 tonnes of food to areas in southern Somalia which are controlled by al Shabab fighters.

An air bridge was established on Wednesday to deliver aid to Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia where tens of thousands have fled to in search of food.

A plane carrying 10 tonnes of nutritional supplements for the malnourished took off from neighbouring Kenya on Wednesday morning, after days of delays due to bureaucratic hurdles, UN World Food Program spokeswoman Challiss McDonough said in Nairobi. The shipment will help 3,500 children for one month. More planes are expected to fly in the coming months, as some 18,000 children are suffering from malnutrition and the number is expected to grow to 25,000.

The UN estimates that some 12 million people in the region are in danger of starvation due to the prolonged drought.

Food deliveries will also go to Ethiopian town of Dolo on the border with Somalia and to the town of Wajir in northern Kenya, where large refugee camps have formed in the past weeks.

The decades-long conflict in Somalia has also forced a lot of young men to join the pirates in the Gulf of Aden, against whom the EU has launched a naval operation, Atalanta.

In parallel, the EU is also training Somali soldiers in Uganda, under the command of an Irish general.

EU gives free rein to anti-pirate warships

Pirates off the coast of Somalia will now have to contend with a EU naval force mandated on Friday by member states to launch attacks on its inner coastal territory.


Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.


Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Too soon to lift EU sanctions on Burundi, NGOs warn
  2. EU to wage economic war on Belarus dictator
  3. EU commission takes stand against Danish asylum law
  4. Air pollution in many EU cities 'stubbornly high'
  5. EU leaders discuss Turkey, Russia, migration This WEEK
  6. Pandemic exposed corruption in some EU health systems
  7. The European Court of Justice vs German Constitutional Court
  8. AstraZeneca must deliver 50m doses by September or face fines

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us