It’s already been five decades since Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson launched a united effort to end hunger in Africa. Who remembers their song “We Are the World?” Yet, the world is no close to helping African countries with food security. In Somalia alone, the most recent report by UNICEF paints a dire picture: worsening drought and famine could lead to malnutrition in children, with 1.8 million (54.5%) children projected to suffer from acute malnutrition and another 513,550 children likely to become severely malnourished in the coming months.
Add to that the rising number of cholera cases that compound the drought and hunger that the country is currently facing, and it is a recipe for disaster. The Somali government and other humanitarian organizations have been working with UNICEF to address this problem. However, the global aid agency warns that the situation could get much worse if operations don’t scale up than even their most dire projections.
One of the poorest cities in the world is Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. The city has been plagued with civil war since the 1990s, giving rise to child soldiers, land mines, and conflicts with neighboring Sierra Leone. Even after the civil war abated, the city still struggled to regain its footing. As a result, it fell far behind other capital cities in terms of the quality of life for its residents. With 54% of the population living below the poverty line, the World Bank highlights the difficult living conditions in the city. Most of its inhabitants practically surviving on only $2 a day.
Even the city’s infrastructure is a testament to the inescapable poverty of its residents. Narrow, poorly paved streets litter the downtown area, and they are unable to keep up with the demand for personal vehicles. Public transportation is virtually non-existent in a city prone to flooding and diseases. Lack of running water, an erratic power supply, and substandard healthcare all contribute to keeping Monrovia one of the poorest cities in the world.