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July 21st, 2011
08:01 PM ET

Somalia in Crisis

By Jane Ferguson and Moni Basu, CNN

Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) - War forced tens of thousands of Somalis to flee their capital, Mogadishu. Famine is bringing them back.

Hungry and sick Somalis are trekking from their homes in famine-struck southern areas in search of food, water and medicine. More than 50,000, by a July 18 United Nations count, have arrived in Mogadishu, a city destroyed by two decades of conflict.

The United Nations refugee agency called it an "unprecedented influx" into a city that was notorious for exodus.

The people are arriving in a city where the sound of gunfire became as common as the start of a car engine; where tales of dismemberment and executions and other heinous deeds emanate from neighborhoods shut off from any form of governance.

What has caused the East Africa crisis?

It is exceedingly difficult to deliver aid in Mogadishu. Yet, people who have nothing left to lose hope to get lucky at feeding camps set up by Islamic charities and the United Nations' food agency.

World Food Programme Executive Director Josette Sheeran acknowledged the dire need to get food supplies into southern Somalia, where the al Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab recently lifted a ban on aid agencies.

The WFP will ratchet up its efforts and begin airlifting food within days to try and reach 2.2 million people in the south, Sheeran said.

In Mogadishu, the vast feeding camps are teeming with people, mostly women and children.

Jane Ferguson is just back from Mogadishu, where she got a first-hand look at the dismal conditions these desperate people are facing.

But hunger is certainly not the only problem Somalis are facing.  Ongoing fighting in and around the capital of Mogadishu has touched many families, making every day a fight just to survive.

In September 2010, Jane spent time reporting from Somalia.  She looked at the difficulties of staying safe in the city.

Jane also introduced us to the men who make up the front line in the fight against terrorism on the Horn of Africa, and explains why some of they continue to fight, despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges.  See that report .

Also in September, Jane visited a makeshift hospital in Mogadishu struggling amid the fighting.

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