Somalia and the Horn of Africa face the worst humanitarian crisis of 2011, but appeals are ignored

Somalia and the Horn of Africa face the worst humanitarian crisis of 2011, but appeals are ignored

It takes $ 2.5 billion to tackle the humanitarian tragedy in the Horn of Africa, according to the United Nations. Hunger in Somalia above all. But international aid is scarce and words are not enough to feed the children or their families.

As of today, 1 September, 1 billion dollars are missing. The World Food Program reports that only 20% of the needy in Somalia are receiving help. Moreover, already at the FAO summit in July “Save the Children” had confirmed that 1 million children in Somalia alone are in a state of severe malnutrition. Widespread responsibilities, appeals ignored.

Antonio Guterres of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) had already identified the Horn of Africa as the scene of the worst humanitarian crisis of 2011. Worse than Libya, of which we have more news.

The widespread and persistent famine has triggered a series of misfortunes that go far beyond starvation:

– public health. Now the risk of the spread of cholera and dysentery, tomorrow the chronic effects of malnutrition.

– safety. In overcrowded refugee camps (such as that of Dadaab, now the third largest city in Kenya by population), women are exposed to violence, little orphans run the risk of getting lost. Monitoring nearly half a million people is not easy.

– sustenance. Thousands of heads of families have given up their homes and all their belongings to provide food, shepherds have lost their animals. Aid will have to be organized so that everyone, once the emergency is over, can provide for their livelihood. Aid to agriculture and pastoralism therefore.

As for international solidarity, the “performance” of private donors, who have already raised 150 million dollars, can be defined as excellent. And you can go further: just an SMS or a donation by phone . If the tam tam works, large numbers of even small numbers can work miracles.

Among the governments, the pole position belongs to the USA, with a commitment of 530 million, and to Great Britain with 168. In the second row the European Commission (96) and Japan (88), Australia (76), Canada (73). On the third line Saudi Arabia (51) and Sweden (48). Followed by China (39), France (37), Denmark (35), Germany (34), Spain (33), Brazil (32).

Outside the political chessboard of aid Italy (8), with less than half of what is offered by small states such as Norway and Holland (18) but also below Finland (15), Belgium (13), Switzerland (10) .

The governments of the African Union, meeting last week in Addis Ababa, have allocated 46 million dollars to tackle the crisis in the Horn of Africa. In the lead Algeria (10 million), Angola (5) and Egypt (5). Notes of merit to Gambia, Mauritania and Congo – Brazzaville. Loud whistles at the miserable offers of the governments of Nigeria (2) and South Africa (1.3 net of individual donations).

“Africans Act 4 Africa”, an NGO that raises funds throughout the continent, had defined the minimum goal to be achieved in this phase at 50 million: “If Andrew Adansi-Bonnah, an 11-year-old boy, gives up school and travels from Ghana to Ethiopia to demonstrate its commitment to raise funds and add its voice, how is it possible that the leaders of many African states have not done the same? If we truly believe in African solutions to African problems, we must demonstrate this clearly with actions and not just in words ”.

The mobilization of African civil society towards their respective governments therefore continues, as Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International attests : «We must refer to our rulers in Africa to show leadership. Just as they are able to find resources for wars or luxury cars, they must now find them to face the emergency of hunger in the Horn of Africa. They cannot get by with the scarce contributions offered up to now ». Youssou NDour echoes him : “No one should starve, not now, not in the twenty-first century. I also appeal to the Africans to act now in Somalia ».

The most substantial aid will come from the “Organization of the Islamic Conference” (OIC), whose countries have agreed on a commitment of 350 million in favor of Somalia, in an extraordinary summit organized last week in Istanbul. Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is confident of increasing aid to 500 million soon. The African Development Bank has in turn announced a donation of 300 million for long-term development in the Horn of Africa.

Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, brought to the Addis Ababa conference a thought that applies to everyone: «The budget of an entire generation is at stake. If we don’t respond, the consequences will reverberate for years. Our children will ask us how we were able to stand still and watch a generation die, how we allowed a crisis to become a catastrophe when we could have stopped it instead. “

The same Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon – in signing the “Global Call to Action against Poverty” – stressed our duty to relegate poverty to history. In 2008, the member states of the UN made further financial commitments to guarantee the fundamental rights to food, drinking water and education. As part of the so-called   “Millennium Development Goals” .

In order to encourage governments to respect their commitments, the “In my name” campaign was launched : in my name, I ask the government that represents me to demonstrate its responsibility and to respect its promises. Poverty takes 50,000 lives every day , one child every 5 seconds.

About half of the world’s population lives on less than $ 2 a day. The choices are not easy: give the family a meal at least once a day or send the children to school or buy them a “mosquito net” to protect them from malaria? To be the generation that puts an end to poverty, we must act now to ensure governments deliver on their commitments made in 2008. They promised to halve extreme poverty by 2015, to make it disappear by 2025. But also to reduce by three-quarters the amount of poverty. cases of childbirth mortality, two-thirds the mortality of children under five years of age, to stop the advance of AIDS, malaria and other chronic diseases, to ensure all primary education.

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