Somalia 2 Essay, Research Paper
Somalia is in the current news. Today (Feb 23) twenty-three ships from seven nations are preparing to evacuate U.N. peace keeping troops from Somalia. This report gives a brief overview of Somalia.
Somalia’s proper name is the Somali Democratic Republic, which is a state in northeast Africa stretching from the Equator to the Red Sea. Somalia occupies most of the Horn of Africa. Somalia is surrounded on the north by Gulf of Aden, in the east by the Indian Ocean, in the west by Kenya and Ethiopia, and in the northwest, by the French administered territory of the Afars and Issas, formerly known as French Somaliland.
Somalia’s population is 2,730,000 and the area is 246,200 square miles. The capital and largest city is Mogadishu, and it’s population is 172,677. The colors of the flag is blue with a white star in the middle. The major languages are Somali, Arabic, Italian, and English, and the major religions are Islam and Roman Catholic.
This country is covered in flat low plateau, with some mountains, the largest is Surud Ad which is 7,900 ft tall. The are two plateaus south of the mountains they are the Haud and the Guban. The Haud plateau is flat land withsoil containing gypsum. It has slightly more rainfall then the Guban and is cooler and drier.
Somalia extends from about latitude 2 degrees South to 12 degrees North, and so it’s climate lies within the tropical and subtropical zones.
Vegetation consists primarily of shrub, bush, and grass. In the political subdivision of Migiurturia, the land is practically denuded of trees. In most parts of the country, however, plants and grass are plentiful, and in the Haud extreme south vegetation is thick. The shrubs, which have adapted to the harsh enviroment, with its low rainfall and hot sun, are nutritious, subtaining the country’s abundant livestock as well as it’s wild animals. At present the greatest single resource of the country consists of it’s livestock, chiefly cattle, camels, sheep, and goats. There are also many wild animals, such as lions, elephants, hyenas, foxes, leopards, and hippopotumusses,and such game animals such as giraffes, zebras, antelope, and also many species of birds. The lower Giuda Region in the most abundant in wild animals and game.
Somalia’s mineral resources include iron and gypsum. In the Alto Giuba region, iron ore deposits with an iron content of 40 percent are estimated at about 300,000,000 tons. Gypsum sepiolite(a clay material) and manganese also have been discovered. But the country depends on uranium, however, for rapid income.
By the eighteenth century, the Somalis essentially had developed their present way of life, which is based on pastoral nomadism and the Islamic faith. During the colonial period, the Somalis were separated into five mini- Somalilands: British Somaliland; French Somaliland; Itailian Somaliland; Ethiopian Somaliland; and, what came to be called the Northern Frontier District of Kenya. In 1960 Italian Somaliland and British Somaliland were merged into a single independent state, the Somali Republic. In its first nine years the Somali state, although plagued by territorial disputes with Ethiopia and Kenya, and by difficulties in integrating the dual legacy of Italian and British administrations, remained a model of democratic governance in Africa; goverments were regularly voted into and out of office. Taking advantage of the widespread public bitterness and cynicism attendant upon the rigged elections of early 1969, Major General Mahammad Siad Barre seized power on October 21, 1969, in a bloodless coup. Over the next twenty-one years Siad Barre established a military dictatorship that divided and oppressed the Somalis. Siad Barre maintained control of the social system by playing off clan against clan until the country became riven with interclan strife and bloodshed. Siad Barre’s regime came to disastrous end in early 1991 with the collapse of the Somali state. In the regime’s place emerged armed clan militias fighting one another for political power.
By September 1991, intense rivalry among leaders of the USC-dominated interim goverment had degenerated into street fighting with in the Mogadishu area. Because the different clans resorted to use of armed force to buttress their claims for political power, government and civil society disintegrated, and essential services such as food distribution collapsed. Nature compounded the politcal disaster with a prolonged drought. In 1992 severe famine affected much of southern Somalia. International relief agencies mounted a food and medical aid campaign, but an estimated 80 percent of food shipments were looted by armed groups affiliated with various clans. the worsening situation prompted the United Nations to intervene. On April 22, 1992, the UN proposed to send a 550-man mission to Somalia; and on April 24, in UN Resolution 751, the Security Council voted to send fifty UN observers to monitor the cease-fire in Mogadishu.
Today Somalia is still in a emergency relief situation, which is likely to continue for some time. Over the past one year of U.S. Government intervention, in which USAID, Angency for Internatinal Developement played a major role by assisting in the provision of emergency food aid and medical supplies, thousands of deaths were averted. In mid 1992, an estimation 4.5 million Somalis were in need of external food aid, including approximately 1.5 million people at severe risk of starvation. Somalis were dying at a rate of 1,000 to 3,000 a day. Today, widespread malnutrition has decreased dramatically, and health conditions have improved. Therefore USAID does not expect as high a level of emergency food assistance in 1995.
Somalia is a country influenced by many nations, a country of tradition and a country of civil unrest. It waits to see the next chapter in its ever changing history.
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