What are Somalia's neighboring countries
Somalia is a country in Eastern Africa. The area where Somalia is located is called, together with three other states, the Horn of Africa. Here is the most easterly point on the continent. Somalia is almost twice as big as Germany, but Germany has about eight times as many inhabitants.
Somalia has a long coastline on the Indian Ocean. This includes the Gulf of Aden in northern Somalia. Neighboring countries are Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. The capital Mogadishu is on the coast. It has two million inhabitants.
The people are called Somalis. Almost all of them are Muslim. The population used to be very uniform. But today the different tribes and clans are very important. They sometimes fight each other.
During the colonial period, part of Somalia belonged to Italy and another part to Great Britain. It has been an independent state with a prime minister since 1960. But he only rules over a small part of the country because of the different clans. The people are very poor and many are starving.
What does the country look like?
Somalia is a little bigger than France. The country is in the tropics. The southern tip is on the equator. Large parts of the south are desert. There are two rivers through there that reach the sea from Ethiopia. There are high mountains in the north. The highest is called Shimbiris. It is 2,460 meters high.
The monsoons are important in Somalia. This is a certain wind in the tropics. It brings a lot of heat all year round. Sometimes it also brings a lot of rain, but also long dry periods. Only in the area around the capital Mogadishu is it a little different: in summer and winter it is rather mild there. In between it is hot and humid.
The desert is getting bigger and bigger. There are too many pets eating the grass and bushes. In addition, people cut a lot of wood. Where there are no more plants and, above all, no more roots, the rain washes away the earth.
The mangroves and coral reefs also suffer from the fact that their environment is constantly deteriorating. Ships dump poison and waste from nuclear power plants in the sea. There is no coast guard to control or prevent this. Because too many fish are caught, the balance in the sea is also upset.
How do people live?
About a quarter of the people live as farmers, mainly between the two rivers in the south of the country. They plant corn, millet and sugar for themselves. They sell bananas and cattle abroad.
Almost another quarter live as nomads, so they move from one pasture to the next with their camels, sheep and goats and everything they have. They also keep cattle in the fertile areas.
Almost half of the people live in cities. There are various services there. Sending money on is particularly important: Refugees who have since found work abroad send part of their wages to their families.
Only about 13 out of a hundred boys and about seven out of a hundred girls go to school. Mostly it is Koran schools in which religion is more important than anything else. There are also some private schools. The state doesn't have schools like ours.
There are very few people with HIV in Somalia because Islam is so strict. But there are very few doctors. More and more babies have deformities. This is probably related to the toxic waste on the coasts. Only about every third inhabitant has clean drinking water, a doctor or a hospital in their area.
Corruption is a particular problem in Somalia. This means that politicians, judges and officials are putting money into their own pockets that does not belong to them. You can also be bribed. If you ask people in all countries of the world about this, you will find that corruption in Somalia is worse than anywhere else.
What are the consequences of the tribal wars and the droughts?
Many tribes and clans fight against each other. Some groups of radical Muslims create additional problems. They oppress the population with gun violence and spread terror. Men are killed, women are often forced to have sex by soldiers, and children are forced to become soldiers. Many factories were closed.
Because of extremism, tribal wars and droughts, around one million people fled to Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen and other countries. A small part made it to Europe on boats across the Mediterranean. Another million fled their villages and now live elsewhere in Somalia.
Because the country is so restless and because the government cannot bring about any peace, there is a lot of crime. Corruption is worst here in the whole world: politicians, officials and police officers are putting money in their own pockets that would belong to the state or other people. There is also a lot of counterfeiting of money.
There are pirates off the coast who want to earn their living this way. No police can prevent that either. Many forests are being felled to produce charcoal for illicit trade. This creates even more desert. Because of all these problems, food has also become more and more expensive. That is why over three million people need food in international organizations. There is hardly any tourism in such a country.
In 2011 there were terrible droughts. It is believed that around a quarter of a million people died of starvation. There have been more droughts since 2015. However, the wars made it very difficult for foreign countries to bring aid into the country. Many organizations from abroad stopped doing this again.
Storms are common in the Somalia desert.
This poster says: “Stop, we need these people!” So no arms dealers, but doctors and teachers.
An old colonial building. It's badly run down.
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