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.