Unless you have been hiding under a rock, I’m sure you’ve been made aware of the famine occurring right now in southern parts of Somalia. Over 3.7 million people are being affected by this crisis. Without a large and immediate international response, the deprivation will spread quickly.
Approximately 10 million people in Africa are at risk of famine, the majority occurring in Somalia due to not only their worst drought in half a century, but internal conflict.
In Somalia, drought turned into famine because the Somali government and many aid agencies are banned from areas under control of the Al-Shabab military group.
Thousands of Somali’s have had to flee their homes in search of food and water, ending up in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. The Dadaab camp in Kenya, intended to accommodate 90,000 people, is now jam-packed with over 400,000.
Mark Bowden, the U.N. humanitarian representative for Somalia, told reporters "It is likely that tens of thousands of people have already died -- the majority of these being children."
Bowden also said that”half of the population in Somalia is being affected” and that “$300 million in aid is needed over the next 2 months.”
Frontline aid workers are calling this the worst food crisis since the Ethiopian famine that killed about one million people in the mid 80’s.
"Every day of delay in assistance is literally a matter of life or death for children and their families in the famine-affected areas," Bowden said.
To put things in perspective, “if famine were declared in the United States, 3,000 or more children would be dying every day from lack of food and water” said Lawrence Haddad, director of the U.K.-based Institute of Development Studies.
"More than ever, Somali people need and deserve our full attention," Bowden pleaded.
What can you do to help the people of Somalia?
Donate! The Canadian government will set aside funds to match donations from individuals into an East African Drought Relief Fund until September 16, 2011. These funds will be administered separately by CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency). Please give now to double overall support for East Africa.
Donate through The Humanitarian Coalition here.
Donate through the World Food Programme here.
Donate through UNICEF here.
Until next time,
Peace, love and vitamin C!
Jennifer Pretty began her career as the director of artist development for a well-known Canadian music label. Branching out on her own, she then started her own PR business “Pretty Media Management” planning and hosting various charity, entertainment and fashion events. As a dance and fitness class enthusiast Jennifer is a firm believer in the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. She also loves to cook, travel, spend time with family and friends and most importantly living life to the fullest!