Somalia Needs More Attention, Aid – MSF President

A member of the Medecins Sans Frontieres examines a malnourished child in Dolo Ado, Ethiopia. Photo by: Cate Turton / Department for International Development / CC BY

Aid agencies and donors need to make a conscious effort to channel more aid to Somalia, which is hardest-hit by the crisis in East Africa, according to the international president of Medecins Sans Frontieres, who noted that not enough aid is being sent to the famine-struck country.

“Right now all of the aid that is being delivered is around the fringes of the problem,” Unni Karkunakara said in an interview with U.K-based Channel 4 News. “There’s a huge hole in the middle where aid is not getting to.”

Karkunakara said there is a need to characterize the East African crisis in a “correct and informed way” to make sure aid reaches those who needs it most.

“Perhaps, I think one of the big concerns that I have is [the] characterization of the crisis as a famine that affects the whole region,” he said, explaining that while there are pockets of crisis in other East African countries, Somalia needs the most attention because of the severity of the situation and security concerns there.

Karkunakara’s call comes as the United States and Spain unveiled additional contributions to the East African crisis response.

“I am happy to announce over $23 million in additional U.S. funding, including nearly $10 million expressly for Somalia,” U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah said Aug. 31.

Spain, meanwhile, announced that it is contributing an additional €1 million ($1.43 million) to the World Health Organization for the delivery of medical supplies in the crisis-affected region.

Read more news on the East African crisis.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.