Video: Causes of famine go beyond drought

  1. Closed captioning of: Causes of famine go beyond drought

    >>> last night on this broadcast, we brought you a report about a tragedy unfolding halfway around the world in the horn of africa . as we continue our reporting tonight, we warn you again that some of the images in tonight's report are hard to watch. at first, the massive drought that has swept across kenya , somalia and ethiopia appears to be a crisis caused entirely by nature, a simple but severe lack of rain. but the resulting famine and refugee crisis is something more than that. it is a disaster that is in large part man made. nbc's rohit kachroo has the report tonight from nairobi, kenya , and a reminder that tonight some of what you will see will be tough. rohit ?

    >> reporter: lester, this crisis has been caused by years of civil war , months of dry weather , and every day it seems to get much worse. people around the world are trying to help, but today insurgents in somalia said that they would do their best to prevent them that help from getting through to those who need it the most. his name is ahmed, 8 months old and desperately ill at a camp near mogadishu. not far behind him, 1-year-old twins arrive, seriously malnourished. here it is the children that are most at risk.

    >> the mothers and the children. i'm not sure many of them will be alive in the next week or two.

    >> reporter: in somalia , a crisis made by nature has been made worse by man. the islamist militant group al shabab , which controls many of the worst affected areas, said today we'll continue to block foreign aid , claiming there is no famine, and calling the united nations ' declaration to the contrary "pure propaganda." the wrenching images being seen around the world tell a very different story. the u.n.'s world food program says that despite the danger, it will airlift food to the area in the next few days.

    >> it is the most dangerous and risky environment in the world. the world food program lost 14 people since 2008 , 14 of our relief workers in somalia , simply trying to get food to a child.

    >> reporter: the people are fleeing somalia by the hundreds of thousands many to makeshift camps in kenya . this woman tells me to get here she walked for an entire month from northern somalia with her children. along the way, she took in another child, she found him alone, his mother had died from hunger as they traveled south. concern is greater for those they left behind . those who can't find aid and haven't yet been found by the relief agencies. it might seem unusual to describe ahmed or any of those children as being lucky, but in one way they are because they have found assistance and there are many more children right across this region who have no immediate prospects of any help. lester?

    >> all right, rohit kachroo, thank you.

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