Rosebell Kagumire: “East Africa: The Preventable Crisis”
Rosebell Kagumire writing about the famine in East Africa for OXFAM International:
On Tuesday this week, the Daily Monitor newspaper in Uganda reported the death of two people in the eastern district of Bulambuli. Local authorities there said the two had died due to hunger. They also warned that that there could be more deaths.
In desperation the local area leader pleaded, “hunger is killing us, please we are asking government to come to our rescue, our children have abandoned school and can’t go back because there is no food.”
The district, like many others, has experienced drought since April. And though Eastern Uganda is not on any of the drought-affected maps that I have seen aid agencies using for purposes of responding to the current food crisis, the problem of food insecurity and failure of Eastern African governments to put in place measures to prevent death and devastation is out there.
Oxfam has called the food crisis facing East Africa the worst of the 21st Century. Across Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya, 12 million people are in dire need of food, clean water, and basic sanitation. The UN has declared famine in Southern Somalia. Nearly half of the Somali population is now in crisis, with an estimated 2.8 million people affected. The main focus has been on the humanitarian needs for the worst affected. The UN estimates that $1billion extra is required to meet immediate needs, and of this so far less than $200 million has been provided.
For those interested in offering assistance, the Canadian government has promised to match donations made by Canadians within a set time frame to registered and eligible NGOs. See here.