The United Nations estimates that 43,000 Somalis starved to death last year. At least half of those who died are said to have been children less than five years old. The Horn of Africa nation is suffering from a drought as well as a US military campaign targeting the insurgent group al-Shabaab.
At the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, he ordered the withdrawal of all American troops from Somalia. After taking office, President Joe Biden ordered soldiers to return to Somalia, provided millions in military assistance to Mogadishu, and increased drone strikes in the country. Meanwhile, at the beginning of 2022, the UN reported over 1 million Somalis will suffer from acute malnutrition because of a drought.
In a joint statement from the Somali government, the UN and World Health Organization stated the death toll could have been much worse and warned 2023 could see tens of thousands of people starve to death. “These estimates suggest that although famine has been averted, for now the crisis is far from over,” the joint statement said.
Despite years of American intervention, the UN says 17 million Somalis remain in need of humanitarian aid. Additionally, 35,000 people could starve to death in just the first six months of 2023.
Throughout 2022, the US regularly bombed Somalia. The Pentagon will occasionally release a statement confirming the airstrike, typically asserting a handful of al-Shabaab militants were killed in the strike.
Rarely, is there any media coverage to give any confirmation of the assertions from the Department of Defense. In January, one such strike was investigated and seven Somali civilians were found to have been killed. The uptick in violence in Somalia in 2022 made it the deadliest year for civilians in the country since 2017.