Jill Biden to visit largest refugee camp in effort to feed Horn of Africa's hungry
The United Nations says almost half the Somali children arriving at Dadaab refugee complex are malnourished. Many die en route.
August 8th, 2011
09:05 AM ET

Jill Biden to visit largest refugee camp in effort to feed Horn of Africa's hungry

Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's wife, is in Kenya with former Republican Sen. Bill Frist and other dignitaries to emphasize the U.S. government's commitment to tackling the famine that has left more than 12 million East Africans in need of food.

During her trip, Biden will visit the Dadaab refugee complex, a camp that receives more than 1,000 Somalis a day and is home to more than 400,000 displaced people. The camp is designed to accommodate about 90,000 refugees.

The region is facing its worst drought in six decades, and the United Nations has declared a state of famine in five regions of Somalia with warnings that the situation is deteriorating and could easily spread. Though food insecurity is also affecting Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda and Ethiopia, the greatest concerns emanate from war-torn Somalia, which has known no central government since 1991.

The United Nations is working to round up $2.5 billion to address the situation, which the organization says could be ongoing for six months or more.

Biden's trip to Dadaab aims to draw attention to the plight of the Horn of Africa and highlight the Feed the Future program, a U.S. government effort aimed at "helping countries transform their own agricultural sectors to grow enough food sustainably to feed their people." She also will visit Nairobi's Kenya Agricultural Research Institute and meet with President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Agriculture Minister Sally Kosgei.

To help illuminate the problems facing the overcrowded Dadaab camp, the world's largest refugee complex, Oxfam last month provided a tour of the camp and interviewed people seeking refuge there. The situation has only worsened since then, and the United Nations said reports of children dying en route to the camp are "disturbingly common." The agency further said that almost half the children arriving from southern Somalia are malnourished.

Efforts to supply aid to Somalia have been vexed of late by al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked group that controls much of south and central Somalia and had previously controlled a large chunk of the capital, Mogadishu. The United Nations recently reported that the group, which has called the famine an invention of the West, made up to $100 million a year off extortion, illegal taxation and other fees. Included were taxes on humanitarian aid going into Mogadishu.

Two developments of late may provide some hope for the Horn of Africa's hungry: The United States has relaxed rules that would provide for prosecution of any group providing aid that fell into al-Shabaab's hands, just days before the militants said they were retreating from Mogadishu after heavy fighting with government and African Union troops. Al-Shabaab said the withdrawal was merely a "change in tactics."

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees airlifted aid into the capital for the first time in five years Monday. The flight carried 34 tons of aid, including improvised tent sheets, sleeping mats, blankets, water containers and food utensils. Another similar flight is slated for Thursday, and a third planned flight will deliver high-energy biscuits, the refugee agency said.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Famine • Food • Health • Joe Biden • Kenya • Nutrition • Politics • Security • Somalia • Terrorism • United Nations • World
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. raven

    Whoops,sorry bout that .dint realise I had already sent it thru the first time .

    August 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Phantom II

    Who is this "JIF?"

    August 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jet black

    People....Africa is a famine stricken country. big difference from the usa folks. we have hungry people in our backyard and a variety of organginations to provide assistance includin those created by the US govt. if that doesnt work they hold a sign...take a cup and beg for money. IDIOTS

    August 10, 2011 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. ...

    I like how people say the recession is over, that bull. It is worse than before and once we stop borrowing money we'll realize just how bad it is.

    August 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. beata zemelka

    While we are adding our comments, every minute children are dying..innocent human beings.. we have hunger problem in third world countries since I can remember and recognize a "problem" and for sure before that..there is something really wrong in that metter..this problem never went away for a day or two..now becouse of illness is more exposed to the world, but it never went away.. I know there is a way ..must be ! to eliminate this inhumilating global problem.

    August 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |

    YES , WE CAN...YES , WE CAN...WE WILL WIN IN WAR ON TERROR (30 whities or what are terrorists will never come back alive...thank you lord....aaamen).

    What do you mean tragedy! It was just a birthday present for planet apes president !!! That's all ! Feels great to flip hamburgers and hip hop atop of good news...makes you feel vibrant and energized !!!

    ARIZONA = UTOYA = GOVERNMENT‘S "AFTERLIFE" CASH & $$ FLASH MOB (there was no shooting in Utoya or Arizona, but instead tear gas and on faces of multiculturalism maniacs while calling you a terrorists) !!! stateofterror.blogspot.com/ or stateofterror.wordpress.com/

    avsecbostjan.blogspot.com/ or avsecbostjan.wordpress.com/

    Whitie is fighting war on terrorism just to come home and be pronounced as terrorist...turned in Timothy, jobless, homeless ...YESSS, WE CAN...YESSS, WE CAN...GABBY OPENED HER EYES (Obaminator’s psychotic speech in Tucson = failed “Apocalypse Now“)


    Don't worry O(s)bama, you have just saved USA what is lots of Dollars in your DEBT DEALS(DEAD AND ILL) as those best of America or Navy Seals would also grew older and then you already know how it goes !!!

    August 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. betweenthelines

    America anit broke if they can print money. yeah help those people. it dont have to be forever showing them somewhere to grow is the best help ever. because then they can help themselves. the indians did that for the colonist.

    August 15, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. brooke

    Hey all i got to say is im 13 & kids like me are really scared for our future. kids arent sopost to worry about this stuff, ever since obama came into office and all the bad things that has happend since then really scare me. all i got to say is instead of talking about all this stuff, we need to make it happen.

    August 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • maryp

      Be the Change You Want to See

      September 6, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. the Wako Kid

    Americans will be americans. If we honestly think it will change(the world or people) then the joke is truly on us.

    August 16, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. DT

    who is paying for.

    l t all this nonsense? How many people can you feed by staying home? Get a Life! Rich ignorant and think they are better than everyone else make me want to vomitwho is paying for all this nonsense? How many people can you feed by staying home? Get a Life! Rich ignorant and think they are better than everyone else make me want to vomitwho is paying for all this nonsense? How many people can you feed by staying home? Get a Life! Rich ignorant and think they are better than everyone else make me want to vomit

    August 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gordon atl

    Wow people here really are ignorant. If you think Africa is a country, go back to school. Go back to Brooke's grade.

    @Brooke- Things are bad now, but you may be too young to remember or even care about what happened during the Bush years. Obama or anyone for that matter will not be able to fix things in 3 years when it took 30 years of Reaganomics to mess things up.

    I remember sitting in my 7th grade class and hearing about 9/11. I "grew" up then.

    August 18, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    Feeding the hungry of the world is also looked at as the stock market. It's what u do at how u are looked at in world situation, u feed we say fine, u don't and they want to know what u r doing with ur riches oh yes that's the stock market. Until the rich get theirs here in the US the poor of other countries we be getting food from us. Rich get taxed and then they become the poor and hungry.

    August 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ana

    Hmmm. So knowing that we owe a lot of money not to mention making us pay for their expenses while they go out on vacation to Africa supposivley to help them out? Republicans are a bunch of hypocrites really, since we pay for all the stuff they do and then try to be nice by helping another country knowing that we need the help first??? It just doesnt make sense....

    August 19, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Striker

    Help feed refugees while I would love to help as a country these are people who are like sheep instead of standing up for themselves and fight tyranny and corruption for there countries they fled from they migrate to get hand outs I would stand and fight even if it costs my life cause the way these people live I rather die And those African Americans that complain about the white man and U.S.A look where you live then look across the pond see you have it very good here

    August 22, 2011 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
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