EDITORIAL: Why Las Anod needs your attention
EDITORIAL: For weeks now, Las Anod, the capital of the Sool region, north of Somalia has become the talk of the town, for bad reasons. With at least 100 people killed in the conflict, this place is not just a political problem. It is humanitarian as well.
And for some good reasons, we may find people to blame. The missing thing, however, has been a common concern for the humanitarian crisis building right under our noses.
Las Anod was once a peaceful city in the northern part of Somalia and there is no reason we cannot insist on that old peace. But the immediate problem is displaced. Besides the search for peace and security, we should all be concerned about the thousands of people displaced from their homes.
These people need medicine, food, water, and all essentials against the elements. It can feel nice to play politics of who is right or wrong. But the over 185,000 displaced in Las Anod are in a different kind of danger. This is why we should heed calls to donate. Give anything to make these people pull through.
The needs of the displaced, incidentally, may tally with the needs of the entire region. We may want their voices to be heard especially on the future of Las Anod. But they won’t be listening as long as they are worried about what to eat.
Attention to the crisis is welcome. But more attention should be given to the vulnerable. Those women and children in the cold. Those people were wounded and in need of medicine. There are children who have dropped out of school because their schools are shut or inaccessible due to shelling.
There can’t be proper attention for Las Anod without the people. There can’t be a good humanitarian cause if it doesn’t target these immediate needs. We understand that Somalia, in general, is a needy country. It has at least 2 million people displaced due to drought and al-Shabaab, and nearly half of the population is also in need of food.
Las Anod is a recent case but it doesn’t mean we should abandon other pressing cases. We support calls to raise money to provide urgent relief. And we think that a long-term solution can be on the cards once we save all local folks from hunger or thirst.
This means Somali leaders have a double obligation: saving the people and saving the region. If there is anything rewarding to the people, it has to be their survival and safety. We will not ask that any come in a particular order especially since they are all vital for the common survival of Somalia.
Las Anod needs the attention of all because the people there are our kind and we must do our duty to ensure our country remains one piece.