…Caught in the middle, as ever, are Somalia’s civilians – those that have stayed in the country anyway. As many as 8,000 Somalis a week now cross the border into Kenya, while tens of thousands a year attempt to make the perilous journey across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen. Inside the country, an estimated 3.6 million people are in need of emergency aid.
Getting that aid to them is no easy task and requires large amounts of funding. While western nations have been willing to spend the estimated £60,000 a day it costs to send a warship to patrol the Indian Ocean searching for pirates, they are less prepared to spend money on aid. The UN received $516m of the $849m it requested in 2009 – and half of that was carried over from the year before.
Little is likely to change in the coming year. Piracy and terrorism will remain the West’s priorities. If Somalia’s civilians happen to benefit, it will be by accident, not design.
From my latest column in Monocle. The rest is here