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Somali photo exhibition celebrates 150 years of humanitarian action

15 February 2013

Farmers in Somalia with goats

A new photography exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society kicks off celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The exhibition profiles the extraordinary courage and resistance of people in Somalia through decades of conflict.

For more than 30 years, ordinary Somalis and humanitarian organisations have worked together to tackle the effects of civil war, vicious clan rivalry, warlords, drought and hunger. They have provided emergency food and medical care, and supported local agriculture to make communities more resilient to crises.

‘Generosity of spirit’

Geoff Loane, is head of mission for the ICRC in the UK, and worked in Somalia during the early 1990s.

“The Somali people are unique in the combination of conflict, disaster, governmental collapse and international isolation that they have endured,” he said.

“This is an opportunity to recognise the generosity of spirit that Somalis have shown in coping with their country’s woes.”

‘Somalia: A Humanitarian Story’ starts with the ICRC’s work to monitor the repatriation of defeated Italians during the Second World War. The ICRC has maintained a permanent presence in Somalia since 1982. In 1991 it mounted its largest ever relief operation to tackle the devastating famine that struck the country.

150 years of humanitarian action

The exhibition is a joint effort between the ICRC, the British Red Cross and the Somali Red Crescent. It is also part of a series of events commemorating 150 years of the ICRC, which first met on 17 February 1863. For more information, visit the 150 years of humanitarian action website.

Entry and opening times

The exhibition runs from 11 February 2013 to 15 March 2013. The Royal Geographical Society is open between Monday and Friday, 10.00am to 5.00pm. Entry is free.

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