Archive for August 28th, 2011


Somalia? Which Somalia? Some Facts About Everybody’s — Nobody’s Land

Human Wrongs Watch 

By Baher Kamal

To begin with, Somalia is situated in the so-called Horn of Africa, bordering with Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and the Indian Ocean. Its territory covers over 637,000 kilometres, hosting around 10 million inhabitants who speak Somali, Arabic, Italian and English, and are mostly Muslim Sunnis.

Somalia’s main ethnic groups are Somali (some 85%), Bantu and other non-Somali (15%) including slightly over 300,000 Arabs. Nevertheless, Somalia is a member of the League of Arab States.

Its income per capita is around 600 US dollars, and its major natural resources are uranium and quasi-unexploited reserves of iron ore, bauxite, copper, tin, salt, natural gas and non-quantified oil reserves. Foreign fishing floats largely benefit from its fish-rich waters and contiguous international waters.

But this is not enough. This is data, figures, however important.

Oil Blocs in Puntland – Image: Ingoman | Wikimedia Commons

How Many Somalia Are There?

The fact is that Somalia was historically made of different tribes living in different areas that used to include large areas but now remain outside the country.

The big European colonial powers decided to take bits and pieces of it, splitting it in the following five different Somalia:

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Life Ends in Somalia

Human Wrongs Watch

Somalia is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, the UN alerted over a year and a half ago. Now the UN calls on the world to save some 390,000 starving children in famine-ravaged regions. However, those who could really help—the rich, industrialised and oil exporting countries, apparently are now too busy with the ‘promising’ Libyan business.

Somali refugees at the world's largest refugee complex at Dadaab, Kenya | Image: UN

The statistics can be mind-numbing, but remember that the data is sons and daughters. The statistics are little boys and little girls, every one of them,” said Anthony Lake, executive director of UN Children’s Fund, adding that the situation in Somalia was a “human disaster becoming a human catastrophe.”

In addition to the tens of thousands of Somalis who have already died as a result of the drought-induced famine, which has been exacerbated by conflict and poverty, an estimated 390,000 children are suffering from malnutrition. Four fifths of them are in the worst affected areas of the country’s south-central zone,” the UN high official stressed.

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