A humanitarian crisis is looming in Africa's North East: a drought, thought to be the worst in sixty years, is creeping across Northern Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. The situation is dire. The images of the famine of 1984 are seared in my mind, I cannot even fathom something worse.
Like a perfect storm, the drought and food crisis are aggravating the already unstable situation in the region. Displaced populations are on the move yet again in search of food and water. What with food prices at an all time high, and Western countries plagued by increasing debt, it does not seem likely that aid will be rushing in anytime soon.
There are several organizations trying to avert a disaster, and the diaspora are mobilizing their efforts. I know, it seems like the demand for aid and money is incessant. Perhaps, if we are suffering of donor fatigue, we can direct our efforts elsewhere? Droughts; floods; wildfires; tornadoes and hurricanes; and plagues of insects are part of nature, but these natural occurrences are happening at increasingly alarming rates. And everything points to their getting worse.
The signs are so glaring and horrifying, can we continue denying the effects of climate change? Perhaps, we could lobby our governments to take firm steps towards environmental sustainability and conservation.
The Honourable Peter Kent
Minister of the Environment
Member of Parliament for Thornhill (Ontario)
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
10 Wellington Street, 28th Floor
For donations (as gleaned from the CBC):
- UN World Food Programme
- WFP is targeting the most vulnerable individuals with much-needed food. They aim to reach nearly 6 million people in the coming months.
- Canadian Red Cross
- Money raised will go to support the work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in the region, both providing emergency relief and helping people recover their livelihoods.
- CARE Canada
- CARE is improving water harvesting structures such as water pans, shallow wells; supporting livelihoods by implementing cash-for-work programs and cash relief to most vulnerable households in the affected areas.
- Doctors Without Borders
- Doctors Without Borders has worked in the camps at Dadaab for 14 years. They offer medical services in Dagahaley camp, providing a general hospital and five health posts.
- Mennonite Central Committee
- MCC is committing $1.2 million through Canadian Foodgrains Bank to support two food-for-work programs in Kenya that will have short- and long-term benefits. Kenyans will be paid with cooking oil, maize and beans for their construction of 92 sand dams and 25 wells. In Ethiopia, MCC funds are expected to be used for supplemental food for children under age 5 and lactating or pregnant women.
- World Vision Canada
- World Vision provides food, clean water, agricultural support, health care, and other vital assistance to children and families in need.