The horn of Africa is going through the worst humanitarian disaster ever recorded in history. The immense lack of rain is causing severe water and pasture shortages, death of livestock and poor livelihood, food insecurity, poor harvest and lack of money. The drought is currently affecting over 12 million people in the region, comprising of Djibouti, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Many people have died, yet many more will die except something is done urgently.
Drought in the Horn of Africa has lasted several years, but the last 2 years have been the worst on record, forcing the price of food and cost of living beyond the reach of most families, a lot of families have moved to refugee camps. The Dadaab Refugee Camps, based in Kenya welcomes over 1000 people on a daily basis, most of the refugees are Somalians fleeing the drought and the war that have lasted a few years. The Camps already have almost 400,000 refugees, stretching its capacity beyond limit. The same is the case in the Kobe and Hilaweyn Camps in Ethiopia with many malnourished refugees.
A recent report released by the US government showed that 29,000 children under five years old died between May to July 2011 in the region. Department for International Developments (DfID) also suggest that between 50,000 and 100,000 people died in 2011, more than half of this people are children under five years old.
The figure is projected to double in 2012 if immediate measure is not put in place to address the looming disaster already ravaging the horn of Africa. Emergency responses need to be improved to avoid more deaths as the chronic food shortages in the region have gone beyond expectation since the rain stopped in October 2010 and 10 million people needs help as soon as possible.
Several Aid Agencies have been involved in various projects, raising money, food, temporary shelters and many more to provide support for the people of the region. Help have equally been coming from all over the world and I must say they are all commendable, but more still needs to be done. There is need for Africa to rise to its own aid; there is need for its people to help itself, rather than being enmeshed in wars, crimes, corruption and wickedness to itself.
There is urgent need for millions of dollars if we stand to stop this crisis. Just last year the UN appealed for $500m for Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. This appeal has only yielded half of the desired result. A similar appeal of $30 for Djibouti has only yielded 30% of the target. Charities say there has been very slow response to the situation from donors, international community and aid agencies leading to loss of many lives. NGOs such as Oxfam and Save the Children have confirmed that the early warning system has forecasted an emergency situation since August 2010, but a full scale response to the situation did not start until July 2011, leading to the death of many people and animal.
The African Union met last year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to raise funds through a fund raising conference. The leaders and institutions made pledges totalling $380m, with $300m of that coming from Africa Development Bank and projected to be spent over the next 4 years. Africa countries promised to donate £51m with Algeria, Angola and Egypt leading the way, however not all the countries have fulfilled their pledge so far. There is urgent need for the 54 AU member states to contribute as pledged and do a lot more.
The governments of Africa are not doing much to stop the crisis; they are not doing a lot to protect the lives of the poor and dying refugees. They are only enmeshed in their corruption and selfish interests. There is daily war, killing of innocent citizens, all sponsored by the rich, creating more instability and violence.
A few greedy Africans seem to benefit from the disaster and are happy for more people to die. They sponsor rebels in arms and ammunitions to the regions rather than humanitarian aids. There is no single value for life, people are killed with ease and many more are left to die, while the leaders stash away money and resources they don’t have need for.
The humanitarian situation is already spreading to other parts of Africa; there is gross insecurity, diseases, acute poverty, high cost of living, corrupt leaders, weak economy, religions violence and lack of power supply.
The drought is returning to the arid, western shoulder of Africa referred to as the Sahel region. Aids Agencies are warning that if immediate action is not taken, the region could slip into crisis and a potential famine is looming in West Africa. Niger government is the first country to issue an alert last year. The other countries in the region with potential crisis are Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, northern Nigeria, Cameroun and Southern Chad.
Poor and innocent Africans are suffering and dying, but not many seem to be helping.
It is not too late to support the horn of Africa. Let’s all donate to stop the untimely death and acute famine. Every African deserves a life and any amount of money you donate will go a long way to save a life. Several charities are doing a great job in the region; you can donate to any of the following organisations.
Abiola Olaifa writes