The forgotten children
Children are so innocent and so dependent on others for their very survival and they have no control over their situation. They need to be loved, protected, fed, bathed and nurtured as babies and throughout their youth. For most of us born into the world we are very fortunate and are raised in favorable conditions where we are safe and free from the harsh elements but for some babies their very survival is questionable from the very start and this is heartbreaking to see and to come to grips with. You would believe that with our modern advancements today we would be able to address the very serious issues of famine, starvation, poverty and medical care of young babies and children on the verge of death.
The pictures are truly tragic and disturbing as you see young babies and children literally dying of starvation with very little hope. It is heartbreaking for the parents who are desperately trying to save their babies lives and are making tremendous sacrifices putting their lives in danger to seek the help they so desperately need for their children. The tremendous journey for most to have a chance at saving their children is a 30 day walk consisting of 250 plus miles through a war torn country with very little rest and so much uncertainty. They are walking day and night in intense heat with very little food and water and are very weak. They are walking this incredible distance for the love and protection of their children to hopefully save their lives and to provide them food, water and medical care. They are threatened along the way by the elements, the breakdown of their physical health, exhaustion, starvation and thieves in the night.
It is a very narrow window in saving a child who is suffering from dehydration and starvation and only trained doctors, nurses and medical personnel can do it in a race against time and they must also rely on the goodwill of others in providing the much needed resources of food, water, medical supplies and clothing. These children are in extreme danger and they are very weak and emaciated and if they are not helped in time they will surely die succumbing to the horrors of this famine that is widespread throughout the country. These people are in need and it is imperative that we all try to do our part in providing them the support they so desperately need. It is a crisis as the supply of food is limited and these precious children's lives depend on it for their survival.
Somalia has experienced decades of war and bloodshed and has experienced famine before as it is now facing it once again which is wiping away so many young lives and causing heart break and lost opportunities which is taking a toll on families and communities. Life for Somalia and its people is one of great struggle and a very sad and painful reality of what should have been prevented given the experiences of the past. When you see the pictures of young babies and children starving and emaciated with the pain in their eyes and the loss of hope for the parents it just breaks your heart and makes you wonder how it could get to this. These people really need help and it will take a great deal of humanitarian aid to bring hope back to a country in need and restore some sense of normalcy to their lives.
The true heroes are those who make tremendous sacrifices to save these young lives. They are doctors, nurses, relief workers, volunteers, parents and anyone who has compassion and makes a difference in these young lives. For a mother and father to walk for a month and cover a terrain that is most difficult and for as long as 300 miles in the worst possible conditions with their babies and children in tow are so very courageous and are proving how strong the human spirit is and the instinct to preserve human life. It just shows how those with very little or nothing still have a desire to live and nurture their young and provide them hope and love. It is the one shining moment in such a sad and tragic situation and it proves that life is precious and all have to come together in playing a part in helping those who are truly in need.
I can't imagine what it is like to have no reliable sources of food or water and to send our children to bed hungry and to see them wake up hungry. We seem to take it for granted that we will have food on our table but for so many it is a very painful reality that food and water is scarce and starvation is a sad truth with impending death staring them in the face. Some are just babies who only know pain and suffering which really is unfair and so very sad. The parents did not bring their children into the world to see them suffer so they are trying all they can to help them and provide them with the very basics so they can have a chance at survival. They will do all they can for their children and we as human beings need to step up to make it a reality and to help them in any way we can.
When you see a mother cradling her dying child pleading for help after walking for weeks, clearly exhausted and starving with the hope that her child will get the medical help and food they need to ensure survival it makes you realize how precious and how fragile life is.
We all wish to see these children get the much needed care and help they need and we hold out hope that life for these people will improve and that food and water will be plentiful and distributed equitably among all who are in need.
Edward D. Iannielli III
Famine in Somalia
- UN declares famine in Somalia | Mark Tran | Global development | guardian.co.uk
Famine conditions now exist in the Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions of Somalia Aid agency accuses European governments of 'wilful neglect'