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Healthline Connects
Healthline Connects

Voices : Somalia Situation is so bad. Everyday Killin

Our friend in Somalia continues to write to us: " I am not so old. I i have a big family my situation is really is not good. Somali situation is so bad. No peace. Every day killin and so many problem. fate bad. last month war. Every thing is chenged...really no peace somali at all. We are with our mother. This is our situation. Please tell me how can you help us...Thank you so much.

Her/His (?) words are evocative, like poetry.
Medicins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has been delivering aid in the country for 16 years, despite lack of a central government. They report that the escalation in violence in April and May, 2007 has destroyed the public health system. I found an MSF doctor who blogs from Sudan at Suddenly...Sudan. I posted a comment to his blog asking him to help us contact an MSF office in Somalia as a starting point for our friend. I also joined the organization so I can post to their Bulletin Board. We will keep at it and keep you all updated.

Sadly, the Washington Post reports things look worse instead of better, as the situation may be building up toward war between Ethiopia and Somalia. According to the report, the US Government is supporting the Ethiopian military action in Somalia because of alleged ties with al-Qaeda. Experts have already called it "Iraq on a small scale". A Global Anti-Aggression Campaign is forming, condemning Ethiopia and its collaborators, including the US. A Peace Summit is scheduled for July 20, 2007 in Mogadishu. Meanwhile roadside bombs are exploding daily, people are dying, and reports indicate that the Somali government just can't accept that the opposition is real.

What do bombs do to people? According to the CDC primer on Mass Casualties: Explosions and Blast Injuries:
  • Injuries are predominately blunt trauma or penetrating wounds
  • Explosions inflict multi-system life-threatening injuries on many people simultaneously
  • Explosions are categorized as high-order explosions (HE) or low-order explosions (LE)
    • HE are supersonic, overpressurization shock waves like TNT, C-4, Semtex, nitroglycerin, dynamite, and ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO)
    • LE are subsonic explosions like pipe bombs, petroleum based bombs, and guided missiles
  • Each of the above causes a different pattern of injuries [WARNING: graphic images]
Categories of Injuries:
  1. Primary:Blast lung, inner ear rupture, abdominal hemorrhage and perforation, eye rupture, concussion (without signs of traumatic head injury)
  2. Secondary: eye penetration, blunt injuries
  3. Tertiary: fracture and traumatic amputation, closed head injury
  4. Quartenary: burns, crush injuries, asthma, COPD, angina, closed and open head injury

The CDC site provides more detailed information. There is just one thing they forget. One thing I hear whistling around the edges of my reader's emails. Heartsickness...sadness...depression...traumatic stress disorder. How do we keep people's heart's and spirits together when their worlds are blowing up and their bellies are empty?

See World Refugee Day: Bleak Picture for Somalis and Iraqis for more about this important topic.

Other potential leads:
  • Representative Donald M. Payne D-New Jersey Chairman US House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa and Global Health
  • Georgette Gagnon, Human Rights Watch Deputy Director for Africa
Thank you ctsnow for use of photo Tank on street of Mogadishu.
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