UNICEF Ambassador Clay Aiken has asked the world to remember Somalia, where war and famine have combined to cause one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
In a story reported by Reuters, Aiken says there has been scant U.S. and international attention to Somalia since a failed military intervention a decade and a half ago.
Aiken, an American pop singer and UN Goodwill Ambassador currently visiting the Somaliland region of the country, says:
There hasn't been much discussion of Somalia since the early 1990s in the U.S. The American population kind of got a bad taste of Somalia in the early 90's and hasn't really had much interest in the country since.
Somalia has been torn by civil war for nearly twenty years, with problems exacerbated by continued insurgency against an unstable central government.
Aiken has been on previous UNICEF field missions to observe rebuilding following the tsunami in Indonesia, to talk with children in IDP camps and UNICEF centers who had been forced to flee from rebel forces in Northern Uganda, to Afghanistan to witness education programs for girls and women in the post-Taliban era, and to Chiapas, Mexico, to visit survivors of devastating floods late last year.
It's the most dangerous place for a child to be. In the lower part of the country, southern part, I feel it's a more desperate situation than any place we've ever been."
More information as it becomes available, along with links to a UNICEF in Somalia fundraising campaign currently being developed.
US Fund for UNICEF
From UNICEF Somalia:
Somalia remains volatile, beset by internal political crisis and conflict, a country severely affected by the repercussions of more than ten years of war, economic decline and destruction. Already one of the poorest countries in the world at the onset of the nineties, conditions of extreme poverty now largely prevail, with very few services and grave health risks experienced by the most vulnerable groups, children and women.
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