Famine in Somalia: Competing Imperatives, Collective Failures, 2011-12 (Paperback)
Some 250,000 people died in the southern Somalia famine of 2011-12, which also displaced and destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands more. Yet this crisis had been predicted nearly a year earlier. The harshest drought in Somalia's recent history coincided with a global spike in food prices, hitting this arid, import-dependent country hard. The policies of Al-Shabaab, a militant Islamist group that controlled southern Somalia, exacerbated an already difficult situation, barring most humanitarian assistance, while the donor's counter-terrorism policies criminalized any aid falling into their hands. A major disaster resulted from the production and market failures precipitated by the drought and food price crisis, while the famine itself was the result of the failure to quickly respond to these events -- and was thus largely human-made. This book analyses the famine: the trade-offs between competing policy priorities that led to it, the collective failure in response, and how those affected by it attempted to protect themselves and their livelihoods. It also examines the humanitarian response, including actors that had not previously been particularly visible in Somalia-- from Turkey, the Middle East, and Islamic charities worldwide.
Daniel Maxwell is a Professor of Nutrition and Humanitarian Studies at Tufts University, Boston. Nisar Majid is a researcher and consultant specialising in food security transnational studies with reference to Somali populations.