Stephanie March, the Foreign Correspondent journalist, reflects on the obstacles and emotional strain while documenting the impending famine in Somalia.
On Monday, March 27, 2023, Stephanie March reported in the Foreign Correspondent about the plight of displaced people in Somalia. During her time there, she and cinematographer Matt Davis were held in a shipping container that served as a military official’s office in Mogadishu airport for three hours. They were interrogated for filming the checkpoint but were able to resolve the issue after six hours. Nonetheless, safety was paramount as Somalia is one of the most dangerous places on earth due to the presence of Al Qaeda affiliate terrorist group Al Shabaab. Despite the challenges and risks, March was determined to shed light on the hunger crisis that has claimed more than 40,000 lives.
March and Davis made their way to Dolow, southwest Somalia, where over 150,000 people have fled to camps due to the drought and are under the oppressive control of Al Shabaab. They were under the protection of World Food Program and traveled in armoured Land Rovers with two truckloads of armed guards. March shared how it was difficult to do a character-driven story as they could only stay in a particular location for an hour or two. They filmed in a stabilisation clinic for critically ill children where the doctors and nurses have to make a devastating decision every day, choosing who gets a bed and who has to be treated as an outpatient, a heartbreaking decision.
At the Internally Displaced People’s camp, March met Aisha, a pregnant woman who had walked 300 km with her two youngest children to seek help as they were starving. Aisha had the impossible decision of leaving her two other young daughters behind with her husband as there was not enough room in the donkey cart. March was in awe of Aisha’s strength and resilience but had to leave due to security reasons. March lamented that it is heartbreaking that in 2023, children are still starving to death in Somalia.