Courtesy, Hellen Keller International
Given the number of African famines and droughts I've seen as an aid worker over the last three decades, I can see how people could become apathetic over time, but I don't think it's fair, nor accurate, to dismiss this latest crisis in a "here we go again" kind of way.
A year ago today famine was declared in the Horn of Africa. The worst drought in 60 years put millions of lives at risk. Canadians stepped up and donated $70 million, which the government matched. One year later, while the famine has been declared over, eight million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia still need emergency assistance.
The hunger crisis in West Africa owes more to a lack of reserves rather than sudden spikes in food prices or weather that kills crops and livestock, says a new report commissioned by two international...
For months now, all of us at the Humanitarian Coalition have been paying very close attention to the situation in the Sahel region of West Africa, where drought and food shortages are affecting an ever-growing number of families and communities. Today, more than 18.4 million people are facing severe hunger, including a million children who are at risk of acute malnutrition.
Hunger in the Sahel region is increasing at a dangerous pace. While a full-blown crisis attracts more attention with vivid images and stories of severely malnourished children, it is by acting before the situation reaches that point that more lives can be saved.
I've been to Africa. I've hung out with kids whose only possession is a ball made of leaves. And guess what -- they were grateful for it. I'll be keeping this in mind when I forgo loot bags at my son's upcoming birthday, and donate the money saved to filling up some bellies.
Most Westerners see the crisis in the Horn of Africa as a combination of a large population, chronic poverty, and corruption, and they believe that none of this will ever change, so giving money to this self perpetuating crisis is throwing it away. But I offer another narrative that I believe is closer to the truth.
The crisis in East Africa has prompted Canadians to open their wallets and their hearts, but with the sheer number of government agencies, NGOs and private sector organizations responding to humanitarian crises, it remains difficult to know who to support and how much of the money will actually get there.
The images coming from across the Horn of Africa are bleak: skeleton-thin babies being held by their underfed mothers, crying for food in refugee camps, wasting away in front of the lens. The drought...
Those in the Horn of Africa who are in the midst of a famine are facing hunger and malnutrition on a scale few of us can comprehend. Even so, I've been dismayed by web-chatter to the effect of, "How long can we be expected to keep feeding these Africans who don't seem to be able to fend for themselves?"
Oli Scarff/Getty Images
THE CANADIAN PRESS -- DOLO, Somalia - The U.N. will airlift emergency rations this week to parts of drought-ravaged Somalia that militants banned it from more than two years ago -- a crisis interventi...
THE CANADIAN PRESS — OTTAWA - The Canadian government is giving $50 million towards famine relief efforts in the Horn of Africa. Ottawa will also be matching any donations Canadians make individually...