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Friday, August 26, 2011

TELE-INTERVIEW: Why My Mom Is in Africa - By Meghan McCain!

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Meghan McCain, / Aug 24, 2011 11:00 PM EDT.

Cindy McCain and Dikembe Mutombo learning how food aid is tracked in Dadaab, Meghan Latcovich.

Ever since she was a young girl, Meghan McCain remembers her mom visiting foreign countries during the times of international crisis. Earlier this week, Meghan interviewed Cindy by phone from a hotel room in Africa about the starving children and dire conditions for families in Kenya.

Meghan McCain: Where exactly are you right now?

Cindy McCain: I’m in Nairobi, Kenya. Yesterday, along with [the poet and rapper] K’naan and [retired basketball player] Dikembe Mutombo, I visited Dadaab, the main refugee camp on the border of Somalia and Kenya. There are over 400,000 refugees in Dadaab, and the number continues to grow at a staggering rate.

Meghan: Where are these refugees from?

Cindy: Al-Shabaab and other factions in Somalia are warring, and these people are fleeing for their lives. The civil war coupled with the famine and the inability for the international community to get enough aid into the region has caused people to flee. Many have walked for days on end to find food, water, and safety. About 80 percent of these refugees are women and children, as many of the men have stayed to tend to their livestock or join armed groups. People are coming from all across Somalia. They are pastoralists, who have dealt with declining pasture for grazing and even less water for living. They live in constant fear of armed groups forcing men to join them. It’s a horrible situation that has been going on for quite some time; it escalated recently due to lower-than- normal spring rains and lack of food security due to the increased conflict. The Dadaab refugee camps were set up to provide support to Somali refugees ever since 1991. Men women and children are starving and entering this camp at the rate of over 1,000 people a day. They are fleeing for their lives and fighting for their children’s futures.

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