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Somalia is global shame

AN objective analysis of the stock reflex response to crisis in the Third World by the "international community" would simply suggest too many look the other way.

Apart from the honourable -- but wholly inadequate -- efforts of aid agencies, the missionary sector and a handful of governments, the tendency globally has been to offer a sum big enough to placate a few uneasy consciences, but too little to make any significant impact on the scale of suffering.

Once more we are seeing the result of this indifference.

This time the country is Somalia. The images of starving emaciated children and their shell-shocked mothers say it all.

The expressions of sympathy and support are worth so much, but behind them there is a searing question that much be answered: why was this allowed to happen again? The terrible aspect of this tragedy is that the 10 million people now at risk are the same 10 million who struggled to survive in the region through the last four droughts.

The UN has been pleading for help for the Somalis since 2008. This was when Josette Sheeran -- then head of its food programme -- warned: "a silent tsunami [of hunger] is gathering."

In the short-term, $400m must be found so that lives that can be saved will be.

We have a UN declaration of Human Rights, which suggests that all are entitled to a fair chance to life's necessities.

Yet, according to UNICEF, 22,000 children die every single day due to poverty. The poor and vulnerable cannot be abandoned to their plight in a world of plenty if we are to call ourselves an "international community".