MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For the first time, we learned drought and famine in Somalia have killed 29,000 children under age 5. In fact, this is the worst drought in 60 years, affecting millions of people in four African countries.

The United Nations predicts famine will continue spreading, and a Minneapolis man knows a handful of those who are suffering.

“The story they tell me, after story, after phone call is just amazing,” said Ali Ali, who owns a cellular phone store in south Minneapolis.

Ali has sent his mother and sister money to live on, so they should be fine, but he worries for his friends back home who don’t have the same financial support.

The United Nations has said previously that tens of thousands of people have died in the drought. The U.N. now says 640,000 children are acutely malnourished — a statistic that suggests the death toll of small children will rise. That’s about the size of the city of Minneapolis and the city of St. Paul combined.

“It is hard, having a hard time with what to do and they don’t have any help,” said Ali.

What people are going through is likely the closest thing to hell on earth. They’re starving under extreme heat. They’re in such desperate need for food and water that some are walking 100 miles just to get it. That would be like walking from downtown Minneapolis to Eau Claire, Wis.

American Refugee Committee, based in Minneapolis, has workers distributing food and supplies. They’re concentrated in Somalia’s capital city and are hoping to provide clean water and sanitation services soon but only with help.

“This is one of those emergencies where right now it’s all about money,” said Daniel Wordsworth, the president and chief executive officer of A.R.C. “Now there’s not enough food to last the next few weeks, but there is enough to provide now. What we’re doing is we’re receiving funding. We transfer that funding to Mogadishu, and that team buys the goods on the ground, and they take and deliver those foods to families.”

Said Sheik-Abdi, with the American Refugee Committee, said in Mogadishu, there are 70,000 people displaced.

“They haven’t received rainfall for the past two or three years,” he said. “Farmers lost their livestock, they lost their farms and some families are loosing the children.”

Sheik-Abdi said the ARC has organized several events to raise money. Abdifatah Farah, spokesman for Ka Joog, a nonprofit organization that works with Somali youth, said they are doing the same. The events include car washes, a basketball tournament and a picnic. ARC managed to raise $7,000.

“Everybody out there is starving,” Farah said, adding that he has family living in southern Somalia. “I haven’t been in contact with them. Everyone is trying to raise money and send it back home. People there are depending on us. They have nothing.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

Thirty students from the University of Minnesota have pledged to raise $1,000 dollars each for the ARC. General Mills has also stepped up by donating $100,000 to ARC.

Farah is not only raising money, he’s also planning to head to a refugee camp in Kenya where many Somalis are escaping the famine.

“We’re going to go over there and film people,” he said. “Then bring it back and share it with people here to donate more money.”

There is also medical group in the Twin Cities made up of doctors and nurses who are planning a trip to Somalia to help, according to Sheik-Abdi. They have a group on Facebook called Neighbors for Nations.

Photographer Tyler Hicks with the New York Times said there was one thing that really jumped out at him while taking pictures. He recalled just how incredibly frail the children were. There were several moments that he didn’t know the children were alive in their mother’s arms until the child shifted a bit.

“Thousands, many thousands of people, and that fact that they’re coming into Mogadishu, one of the most unsafe cities in the entire world, says a lot about the condition of what they’re experiencing in their villages and how desperate they have to be,” Hicks said.

The United Nations predicts all of Somalia will suffer from widespread famine in the next month, a situation that will likely grow worse before getting better.

“This is where quick action will help these people,” Ali said.

Comments (34)
  1. Ted says:

    Tina – These human beings are starving. Many of them children. Your ignorant comments are rude and just plain mean. You are offensive.

    1. Wanna be Parent says:

      Save these children? What about the millions being aborted in the U S?

    2. Tiredofsupportingothers says:

      Charity begins at home when we have so many American children suffering why spend all our resources helping those who do not live here.

  2. Devondre says:

    How ’bout you help us up here on North Minneapolis, that’s all I axe.

  3. Frank says:

    Tina- My idea is give the ones here two bottles of water one for themselves and one to share with there clan when we ship them all back one way ticket.To where they came from. state and Federal gov. Could save a ton of money if they would hust stop giving giving giving. Make them work for their hand outs. Sick and tired of there rudness and the smell. Tried of the complaing about how they don;t like this and they don’t like that. Don’t like it Please leave and don’t come back.

  4. Bummer, but ........... says:

    Sorry but these people don’t have any respect for anyone or anything. Not themselves, not their own children and surely not the American population who supports them financially. They’re all pirates, one way or the other.

  5. Mark says:

    50 years ago I read in “The Weekly Reader” newspaper (in grade school) about all the food we were sending to “the poor starving Africans”. Not only that, the United Nations and the U.S. were providing them with aid and training in how to farm and raise their own food. They sure have come a long way. Maybe it’s just money they want, like their pirate brothers,.

  6. Bob says:

    Sorry, but I cannot support paligamists.

    Do Minnesotans realize we are importing paligamists from Somolia.

    A worker at HUD reported they were signing up 1 husband, with multiple wives, for assistance all the time.

    1. Victim mentality says:

      What the hell is a “paligamist”?
      You are an ignorant fool.

    2. Clara says:

      Plus, they do not have “birth certificates”, so many Africans brought here are collecting SSI even if they are not old enough. They can be any age they want, no one can check.

    3. Get a Clue says:

      The way you people speak is so disrespectful. for the ones who commented on men with multiple wifes, well it’s a different culture and a completely different way of life. I visited Keya last summer and really got to see a different culture for myself and for you dumbfounded people to sit here and say these horrible things you are talking with no knowledge about the issue. I agree that we can help people here as well but what is so bad about aiding these families (mind you 29,000 plus children have already died). you people are so inconsiderate. What have these inocent familes done to you?

      Do not speak negatively abuot something you have not the slightest clue about

  7. Rufftouch says:

    Nice way of showing how ignorant and stupid you all racist fanatics are! Keep talking from your butt since you haven’t realized that what you call names are Americans and Minnesotans as well. This is unbelievable when you all speak harshly about people who are suffering hunger and their childrens are dying infront of their eyes. The worse pain a human (even an animal) feels in his/her lifetime. You should know better than insult others in their times of misery. The good Minnesotans are here, we are from all corners and cannot tolerate the stupid few who spew their hate on folks who are trying to help those who can’t help themselves!

    1. Sally Jo says:

      Sorry but these are very lazy people. Most of them have been in Minnesota for years and years and still unemployment is 90% for them. What can one say but they are getting what they deserve for being such lazy people. If they ran this country we would all be starving. They have a wrong/bad culture that maybe should be left to dry up and bow away.

      1. Fellecia says:

        Yes, and I view Somalia people as sub-human.

        1. Rufftouch says:

          You are evil @ Felicia, keep hiding behind your computer screen. I’m not sure what you will accomplish with all your mental deficient comment.

      2. ILMI says:

        shame on you ,you should have lglanced the bigest markets are owned by somalais ,you foolish,selvish ,racist and rude . somalis work hard and harder we live more than you live we run every where ,this drouth is worldwide nobody can protect either us or u s a government .all of you people writing meaningless words look your mouth ,i believe there are milloin healthy people ,honesty and understandable not those repeating hatedwords .,it’s my first time i ever read this web and i met un experienced ignorance ones who only knows how to type .this is disaster it can happen here mpls ,minisota ,all u s a . u never ignore human being dying ,or starving most of u guys depend on food stamps ..

  8. Darwin fan says:

    If they only let Darwin’s law prevail we all win, well most of us anyway.

  9. Ed A says:

    Mogadishu, Remember Blackhawk Down? !!!,
    It’s Gods Will.

    1. Tish says:

      Very good Ed. We tried to help once but they were oh so very smart and cool with their anti-American BS. Let them starve to death and rot in hell.

  10. Darren says:

    Totally agree. We have enough kids in the USA who are starving. Lets feed the kids here first.

  11. Rick says:

    Gads, what a bunch of 3rd world garbage that needs to go away. Hope the all starve…

  12. Waste says:

    Somalia cannot feed itself. We need to heLp since we caused this issue.

    Once you help a country that cannot feed itself, you just inherited helping them forever. Once you let the government start a program you cannot cut it.

    This is the problem with libs.

    If Somalia had to take care of itself long ago, it would be doing it now. Now it is a nanny state of the US, we are responsible to feed it.

    1. Ordinary Guy says:

      The sad truth is that Somalia is about five hundred miles and 3/4 of a mile lower than Lake Victoria, one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world. IF they had stability and civility, just the seasonal overflow could grow enough to feed Somalia and it’s neighbors. They could bargain against a share of the crops and siphon it overland. All great rivers flow most of their fresh water right into the ocean, letting croplands blow away and letting the suffering die of thirst.

  13. Lou says:

    For a man in Africa, the more children you have the more status you have.  This is irregardless of the fact that you can provide for them, feed them, or house them.  I have been there. 

    By just feeding these children we have done nothing.

    We need to feed them and prevent these fathers from having more children they cannot provide for.  Are we going to be a nation that thinks and provides a well thought out solution, or are we going to try and placate our conscience by throwing money at it?

    By just sending money, you are feeding an addiction.

    1. get a clue says:

      could not have said it better Lou

  14. Iconoclast says:

    Somalians are the rudest,most arrogant,self entitled,uppity unwanted immigrants to ever arrive here..Why must we supprt a hideous culture that hate’s us?? Liberals are so naive…

    1. Tiredofsupportingothers says:

      I agree that the Somalians are rude, they come to this country and thinking they are all that. Why is we have to conform to them and any immigrant when they choose to come here we didn’t invite them and those in the past who did come did conform to America and did not ask for hand outs there was not they busted their butts to make America what it is and they did so humbly.

  15. Mark says:

    Friday morning AP story:

    MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Somali government troops opened fire Friday on hungry civilians, killing at least seven people, as both groups made a grab for food at a U.N. distribution site in the capital of this famine-stricken country, witnesses said.

    Witnesses said government soldiers created the chaos by trying to steal some of the food as the World Food Program, a U.N. arm, tried to deliver food in the biggest camp in Mogadishu for famine refugees. Then refugees joined in, prompting some soldiers to open fire, the witnesses said.

    1. Ken Kaniff from Connecticut says:

      Sounds like we should be sending them more ammunition instead…

  16. Phil Mcrackin says:

    I agree with Darwin, let the weak perish, sounds cruel but nature knows better.

  17. Ordinary Guy says:

    I think you’re referring to the “Corporal Works of Mercy”.

  18. GET A CLUE says:

    The way you people speak is so disrespectful. for the ones who commented on men with multiple wifes, well it’s a different culture and a completely different way of life. I visited Keya last summer and really got to see a different culture for myself and for you dumbfounded people to sit here and say these horrible things you are talking with no knowledge about the issue. I agree that we can help people here as well but what is so bad about aiding these families (mind you 29,000 plus children have already died). you people are so inconsiderate. What have these inocent familes done to you?

    Do not speak negatively abuot something you have not the slightest clue about

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