The plight of many populations in the Horn of Africa looks set to degenerate into a full scale famine. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, asked for 'massive support' from the world for these countries suffering the worst drought for 60 years. There has been a lot of coverage of the situation in NE Kenya and Ethiopia; the drought has also affected Sudan, Djibouti and Uganda. Guterres is reported as saying that currently, 'Somalia represents the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.' The lack of rain this year has led to the failure of crops, the death of animals (even animals such as camels that normally survive in arid conditions) and serious malnutrition, so that families are now going without food altogether and begging on the roadside for water. As ever, these conditions are causing displacement across the region, with the accute suffering that brings, particularly to the very elderly and the very young; it is reported that elderly relatives are staying behind to face starvation as the younger members of families migrate. Schools and hospitals are closing due to lack of water. Organisations like Christian Aid, UNICEF, the Disasters Emergency Committee and Oxfam are appealing for £10m to
- supply water by providing water tanks in villages
- construct additional water points
- get food to families who are not already on food programmes
- provide extra nutrition for infants and pregnant mothers
- distribute animal feed
- help communities to become more resilient to face further droughts
For more information go to http://http://www.riponleeds.anglican.org// and click on the Horn of Africa appeal on the home page.