In Famine, Vouchers Can Be Tickets to Survival

By Tina Rosenberg

The town of Dhobley, Somalia, sits at the gateway of hell.  Just west of Dhobley is the border with Kenya, and the road to Dadaab, which hosts a giant complex of refugee camps; Dhobley has become the last stop in Somalia for a growing stream of desperate, starving people in flight from famine.  In Dhobley, as well, drought has ruined crops and felled cows.   There is no government to help.  The town is a battleground; control of Dhobley has teetered between the Shabaab Islamist militant group and government forces.  Shabaab has blocked food aid from entering Dhobley and burned a food truck, but soldiers from all sides have stolen food meant for the destitute.   The usual street life of an African village — children playing, women laughing together — has vanished.   Gunshots are a constant background noise — “like birds singing,” said Tracy Stover, the emergency coordinator in Dadaab for the humanitarian group World Concern.
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