Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Season of Death

John Donnelly of the Boston Globe deserves praise for venturing to the far corners of desolate, dangerous Somalia to warn us of a growing humanitarian crisis of biblical proportions. Donnelly's "Drought Imperils Horn of Africa" describes how a devastating dry spell in vast sections of East Africa is the worst in a decade, and in some areas the worst in 40 years. He uses telling details to show the heart-breaking human side of this story, such as how the desperate women in the village of Goobato rise at 2 a.m. to trek 10 miles to the closest water source, a round-trip journey that takes seven hours. I tip my hat to Donnelly and the other reporters in Africa who persist in sharing the stories of people who much of the rest of the world tries to forget.


Blogger Jon Marshall said...

Here's a comment that John Donnelly sent me in response to the NewsGems posting about his story:

"My only quibble with my entry is that it's too bad that Somalia is
always portrayed as a dangerous trip; I think that keeps many journalists from going. There are clear dangers -- a BBC journalist was shot dead in Mogadishu -- but there also are many things that a journalist can do to try to minimize the risk. I traveled with various UN agencies for seven days in Somalia (two to the drought region), which meant I had a built-in security force, i.e., two armed gunmen always traveling in my convoy. I also had a 6 p.m. curfew, except for the night I was invited to a wedding! (I went;
the guards waited outside) And everywhere I went -- I traveled to Merca, Wajid, and Jowhar -- UN security kindly gave me a briefing on recent trouble in their region.

All that said, I really appreciate that you included my story.

11:55 AM  

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