comprehend hunger through imagery

Famine in Africa’s Horn

Lynsey Addario / VII for Newsweek

Somalia has long been synonymous with the concept of the “failed state.” Lingering civil wars have prolonged the suffering of its people almost to the point of numbness for Westerners distracted by issues closer to home. Now a drought plagues the Horn of Africa, and while thousands have already died, if aid does not soon arrive a further three quarters of a million may die as well, according to the latest U.N. estimates. “It is hard to grasp the scope of a famine so far away,” writes Lynsey Addario in this week’s NEWSWEEK. “In the U.S., we struggle to fight obesity in our youth while children in Kenya and Somalia, and throughout the Horn of Africa, die daily from malnutrition or complications from malnutrition due to a weakened immune system.” Traveling through Somalia and Kenya, Addario’s haunting photographs capture a terrible reality. Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu is so crowded it has run out of beds. Children dying of malnutrition languish in garbage-strewn hallways. Desperate mothers administer their children’s feeding tubes in the absence of adequate medical staff. In the country’s displaced persons camps, thousands shelter in tents pieced together with tarp fragments and plastic, and the scourge of measles is rampant. Each morning the fathers walk to a makeshift cemetery to bury last night’s child victims. – Meredith Bennett-Smith

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