Twenty Aid Agencies Issue Open Letter Urging International Community To Change Approach In Somalia

Twenty aid agencies on Wednesday issued an open letter (.pdf) “urg[ing] the international community to change its approach to Somalia ‘and enhance diplomatic engagement with the parties to the conflict, to ensure the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid,'” particularly before the rainy season brings the threat of disease, IRIN reports (9/21).

“The groups warned that the aid response to Somalia’s famine has not been large enough to address the dire needs, and that hundreds of thousands of people could die from the crisis. Tens of thousands of children and many more adults have already died from hunger,” the Associated Press writes. “The spread of cholera, measles and malaria will have a devastating effect on malnourished men, women and children,” the letter states, according to the news agency.

In a paper released on Wednesday by Enough, a project of the Center for American Progress, Somalia expert Ken Menkhaus of Davidson College in North Carolina called on President Barack Obama to invoke the Responsibility to Protect doctrine in order “to lead an international effort to open food aid corridors in Somalia,” the Associated Press writes (9/21).