Carly Mckinney

Somalia is currently in the midst of their worst crisis in twenty years.

Between draught, famine, and major instability within the government, Somalia is facing a major Diaspora, which is defined as any group migration or flight from a country or region.

With no mechanisms to withstand the draught, over 750,000 Somalis have fled their home for refugee camps in neighboring countries to escape the famine.

Currently, Somalia is suffering from corruption within their government and political instability. Since the last crisis in 1992, there has been no agreed upon central government, and an Islamic group with ties to al-Qaeda called al Shabab has led an insurgency throughout the country.

Abdi Kusow, ISU professor of Sociology has done extensive research on the topic, and says the leadership of al Shabab has led to instability in the country, and if their rule continues, it could potentially be destabilizing for the world.

Prior to the crisis in 1992, Somalia had a strong Islamic military government for about 20 years. Following that crisis, al Shabab recruited many followers, leading to the destabilization of the country. Dr. Kusow says that while immediate aid in the area is important, finding an agreed upon government in Somalia will be the first step to reversing the crisis. The area also needs international support.

Kusow believes that U.S. involvement in the Somali crisis would be worthwhile. Somalia is on the border of the Red Sea, one of the most important global trade waterways, meaning that many U.S. goods are transported through the area. If the area is not improved and a strong government implanted, U.S. goods would have to be shipped around Africa, which would become more than an inconvenience.

The people of Somalia need financial support to get back on their feet, but this money needs to go directly to the people in need. Dr. Kusow says a mechanism needs to be put in place for distributing this money to the people, whether formulating a policy or working with the relief unions in the area to distribute the money. Kusow believes that students can help the cause. He says this can be as simple as coming together and raising awareness about the disaster.