Somalia’s Humanitarian Crisis Continues to Degenerate

MOGADISHU, Somalia -- As the United Nations Security Council and secretary general deliberate about whether Somalia is too dangerous for authorizing a larger peacekeeping force, United Nations officials on the ground say the country is facing the worst humanitarian crisis in Africa.

In the last two months, the security situation in the capital city of Mogadishu has steadily deteriorated, forcing over 600,000 refugees to flee the city. One million have been displaced in a country of 7 million, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Camps along the road connecting the market town of Afgooye with Mogadishu alone have received a surge of 200,000 refugees.

Ali Mohamed Said, a chairman at Mogadishu's Bakara Market, the largest in the country, fled the city with his family when his workplace turned into a base for the Ethiopian troops who are fighting alongside the U.S.-backed transitional government against Islamist insurgents. "Everyone who could has fled," he says, "I am living in trees with mosquitoes right now."

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