A little boy, hungry and afraid, at a feeding centre in the Horn of Africa: The face of famine
A little boy from Somalia, where a terrible famine is unfolding.
As the launches a special appeal for the victims of the famine, he tells Osman’s story – the story of millions of children born into this unequal struggle.
I helped to bury you last Saturday.
You were seven months old. You starved to death in a place called Dadaab, the world’s biggest refugee camp. Dadaab means hope.
A twig on a mound of earth marks your place among the scores of other children buried beside you.
We finished, some children played a game of chase through the graves. Life goes on. Ten children a day are being buried in places like the Carcass Dump, so take some comfort that you are not alone.
You don’t know me Osman, I’m the journalist who stood over your discolouring corpse, and interviewed your mother while she waited to bury you. Your twin sister, Kadida, was in your mother’s arms staring down at you with a confused and scared look in her eyes.
You were lying on a mud floor in a tiny hut built by your mother from tree branches and covered with bits of plastic for a roof.
I’m sorry for getting emotional in the hut. As a journalist trying to tell the story of how children are dying here every day, I should have been professional.
After all, some 1,500 journalists from all over the world have been through Dadaab in the past two weeks and here we — myself and photographer Leon Farrell— were in a tent with an infant’s corpse.
There are already more than 400,000 Somali emigrants in Dadaab’s three camps, even though they were only built to house 90,000 each in 1991, when your country had a civil war.
|Farewell: Osman is laid to rest in Bula Bakti among scores of other children|