The water problems in Africa have been going on for generations now, and matters appear to have peaked in the last few weeks over in the East. Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya are currently experiencing a serious famine as result of the latest drought, which has been labelled the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War ended in 1945 by the UN. Alarmingly, the media hasn’t done much in recent weeks to share the story, opting instead for the more profitable Trump stories. This means many of us were completely unaware of this crisis, which has already seen thousands of people die from starvation and malnutrition.
Over 16 million people are currently affected in East Africa with over 6.2 million in Somalia alone, including 1.1 million people who have been internally displaced in Somalia, just over 2 million when you include the other three affected countries. Nearly 260,000 people died during the last famine to hit Somalia from 2010 to 2012, and over 220,000 people died during another famine in 1992. This not only shows how little is being done by the West to help prevent these issues, but also how slow our global response is to this sort of international emergency. It is predicted that the current famine will take the lives of over 300,000 people in Somalia alone and to add a scale to the matter, 532,200 people entered Higher Education in 2015 – that’s one fatality for every 1.8 students.
The UN as currently identified four nations of being at risk of extreme hunger and famine – Somalia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen.
What caused such a disaster?
The drought was seemingly caused by a weather phenomenon known as ‘El Nino’, which has bought a few bunch of problems to the four affected nations. The drought initially leads to a lack of clean water which will lead to the spread of cholera, eventually, when all of the water is gone, people begin to feel dehydrated which ultimately leads to death if they are not treated in time.
Domestic animals will also begin to die in large numbers, which leads to a lack of food and ultimately a nationwide famine if the problems are not dealt with urgently. It’s worth noting that ‘famine’ is a technical term which is only used when the following circumstances apply:
- 1 in 5 households cannot cope with food shortages
- Acute malnutrition exceeds 30%
- Two or more people die per day per 10,000 population
What can we do to help?
There are a plethora of non-profit organisations at the ready, taking donations and asking for volunteers to help deal with the situation. The following was taken from the support page over at Save The Children with their East Africa Food Crisis Appeal:
“Back-to-back-droughts, failed rains and war have left millions of children at risk of hunger across the region. Now, up to 19.5 million people urgently need help.
Famine has been declared in parts of South Sudan. In Somalia, 50,000 children are already at risk of death. And across Kenya and Ethiopia, hundreds of thousands of children are dangerously malnourished.
We cannot see a repeat of 2011. That was the last time famine affected this part of Africa and a quarter of a million people died – 130,000 of them children – before the world took action. If we don’t respond fast enough this time, the situation is likely to be even worse.
But with your help, we can still prevent a catastrophe.
Our teams are already on the ground treating malnourished children, delivering food vouchers, water and life-saving medical care.”
Naturally, it’s very easy to feel like there’s nothing you can do, and that these problems are all above you, but we assure you, plenty can be done to help. From giving money to raising awareness, we can all help contribute to ending this crisis.
I, with the help of a fellow student, made a short video talking about a movement they strongly believe in, which can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/jordanek104/posts/1277911142246258
The movement referred to in this video was set up by one Jérôme Jarre, in partnership with actor Ben Stiller and YouTuber Casey Neistat. Jérôme was able to strike a deal with Turkish Airlines, entitling him to a cargo plane, which he will use to transport 200 tonnes of resources over to East Africa over the next 100 days. In eight days, the GoFundMe page (found at: https://www.gofundme.com/LOVEARMYFORSOMALIA) they set up with the Stiller Foundation has already raised well over $2.3m, receiving money from over 83,000 loving individuals.
If you were wondering why this article is so different from my previous posts, it’s mainly because I intend for this post to get into the university newspaper, or on to a new website made by another student, by the name of Bristol Is The New Black. This post also serves more of a call to action as opposed to an update on my life or a motivational/thought proking concept.
If you’d like to have me write more appeals or articles like this for your own blogs or media outlets, let me know in the comments below, or drop me an email via the contact section!