In day to day life, we tend to forget how lucky we are to have our health, to know that our food is safe and to know where our next meal is coming from. Recently, thousands of Somalians, many of them in the war-torn capital of Mogadishu, have died of malnutrition and even more are fleeing to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia to seek nourishment and health supplies.
In January 2010, the World Food Program, which was a main supplier of nourishment relief to the area, pulled out of Southern Somalia due to concerns surrounding violent radicals who are preventing aid organizations from entering the area. With an uncertain food, water and medical supply, those suffering most in Somalia are civilians who are not involved in the political and religious conflicts that are hindering aid.
The expanding food emergency (more than 9,000 children under the age of 5 have died in the last 90 days) has caught the attention of governments and relief organizations worldwide. There are many organizations, including celebrity driven One.org and international support group OxFam, who are doing their part to help the ailing Somalian nation, but to this point it has not been enough.
It is in times like these that we see the best and the worst in people, societies, governments and subgroups. It is also a time when we can appreciate the fact that despite whatever domestic shortcomings or conflicts we experience, we have yet to (and hopefully never will) live through a national state of emergency like the one plaguing East Africa.
I donated through OxFam, an organization that my friend used to work for (which made me feel more comfortable). There is no minimum donation, but they do tell you what your donation can do:
- $50 can provide 200 people a day’s supply of clean water
- $100 can feed a family of six for two+ weeks
- $175 can help dig a well that can provide drinking water and an irrigation source for years to come
“When Americans face drought, the US agriculture system enables farmers to avoid the migrations that destabilize governments and lead to famines. Not so in East Africa where a drought threatens 12 million people. Oxfam aims to reach 3 million people with immediate assistance, and is campaigning to increase the resiliency of farmers globally.”
If you feel so inclined, you can donate here: OxFam America
You can sign a petition to tell leaders how to help here: One.Org