Nightly News | August 04, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: We're back. And now to our continuing coverage of the dire situation in the Horn of Africa , most especially in Somalia , where at least 29,000 children under the age of five have died in a relentless famine that gets worse by the day. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today urged Somali militants to let desperately needed food aid through to millions of starving people who need it. We have two reports from inside Somalia tonight, and they come with our ongoing warning that this is tough to watch. Chief foreign corespondent Richard Engel is in Mogadishu , and Kate Snow made her way across the border from Kenya . We begin with NBC 's Richard Engel .
RICHARD ENGEL reporting: Inside Somalia , three million are starving, thousands are fleeing famine in the south, desperate to reach camps in Mogadishu , but now there's famine here, too. In one filthy camp, we see a boy in his father's arms, so weak he can barely keep his head up. We follow Kalthum . She wants to show us her neighbor's sick boy. He has a fever, his mother says. He vomits whenever he eats. And he's not able to eat? He can't -- he can't eat?
ENGEL: Another neighbor, Aisha , has already lost six children. Only her four-year-old daughter survived. And as we speak, more women approach with more malnourished children . When you hold these children's hands and you look in their eyes, they truly seem and feel exhausted. They don't squeeze back. They're just listless, so tired. But they're victims not just of drought and famine, but Somalia 's political divisions. There's been no real government here for 20 years. Relief efforts are severely limited by the political instability here. The worst affected areas are controlled by al-Shabaab , an al-Qaeda linked group, and people here say the militants aren't letting humanitarian supplies into those areas or letting starving people leave. Al-Shabaab are Taliban -style Islamic militants who don't want outside interference in Somalia . They kicked out aid groups two years ago and banned immunizations, considering them foreign attempts to poison children. Al-Shabaab are holding millions of hungry people hostage, calculating it's better to let them die than allow outsiders and potential rivals to gain a foothold in Somalia . Richard Engel , NBC News, Mogadishu .
KATE SNOW reporting: This is Kate Snow in Doble , southern Somalia , where pockmarked buildings and heavily armed men are evidence the government just recently won this town back from al-Shabaab militants. We followed a rare food convoy organized by small US and Canadian aid groups. A grandmother of six says her grandchildren are starving. This is enough food to feed 14,000 people for the next two weeks. It's oil, sugar, water, all the basic essentials. It's not going to help everyone, but it's a start. Tahabu Ismael Abdullah has nine children. 'I traveled 10 days by foot,' she says. 'I cannot even wash their heads. One convoy isn't enough,' she says. 'Send more help.' Kate Snow , NBC News, Doble, Somalia .
WILLIAMS: I know a lot of you have been asking for ways to help and we have been compiling a list of charities on our Web site . That's nightly.msnbc.com. When we