I find that it’s hard to absorb all of the information that comes our way on a daily basis. With the news at our fingertips (thanks to TIME, CNN, the Economist and Al-Jazeera‘s twitter feeds), we’re constantly inundated with information from happenings across the globe. In the last day, I’ve seen more tweets surrounding rebels closing in on Tripoli and the capture of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi than I thought possible (literally 1/3 of my twitter feed is #Libya-related), plus information around the presidential election, the world economy, the riots in London, Palestine’s views on a two-state solution, etc., etc. Amidst all of this information, it seems that the situation in East Africa has not taken hold of headlines like many other (more sensational?) stories.
A friend of mine from the LSE sent me a message about the situation, highlighting the starvation and effects of the drought in the region. The famine that East Africa (Ethiopia, Northern Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya) is experiencing is the worst that it has seen in 60 years. The situation in the region was clearly already dire beforehand. Somalia has faced the effects of years of civil war, an unstable/nonexistent government and now the effects of hard-line Islamist group, al-Shabab, on foreign aid distribution efforts. [Click here to learn more about al-Shabab].
An article in the Economist notes that 12 million people are believed to be affected by the drought, with tens of thousands already found dead and countless more at risk of starvation. Affected individuals are making their way to refugee camps that are already overburdened and many already malnourished individuals are dying of hunger and dehydration alone en route to a safe(r) haven.
Humanitarian aid has certainly been an issue due to interference with aid distribution but there’s still an opportunity for us to help out and assist a population in great need. Until September 16th, the Canadian government actually matches all donations made to the Humanitarian Coalition (a Canadian umbrella organization of Oxfam, Save the Children & CARE). I definitely think creating awareness and educating people on the issue is a huge step, but for anyone interested in helping out financially, this is the time — we can make our donations go twice as far!
Want to learn more about what’s going on in East Africa?
Check out the articles below for more.
– East Africa: Food Insecurity Continent’s Worst in 20 Years (Porter, C.)
– Behind East Africa’s Famine (Al Jazeera)
– East Africa’s Famine: Disunited in Hunger (The Economist)