News / Africa

    More Funds Needed to Fight E. Africa Famine

    Multimedia

    Mariama Diallo

    Music super stars such as Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Justin Bieber are encouraging their fans to donate money for the famine victims in the Horn of Africa region.  They're among a list of more than 150 celebrities supporting a new initiative by the humanitarian group "Save the Children." This comes as some aid agencies say that, without more funding, it will be difficult to continue providing the help the region needs.

    The newest fund-raising effort from "Save the Children" is being called the "I'm Gonna Be Your Friend" campaign, echoing a line from singer Bob Marley's 1973 track "High Tide or Low Tide."

    The group hopes to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the millions of famine victims in the Horn of Africa region.  Other agencies are also appealing for more money in order to continue their work in East Africa.  Charity Tooze is with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

    "We are appealing for close to $145 million for the situation in the entire region so far that appeal is only 61 percent met," said Tooze.

    Tooze says with the number of refugees skyrocketing on a daily basis, her agency struggles to meet all the needs.

    Definition of Famine:

    The word famine is a term that is not used lightly by humanitarian organizations. The United Nations describes a crisis as a famine only when the following conditions are met:

    • Malnutrition rates exceed 30 percent
    • More than two people per 10,000 people are dying each day
    • Severe lack of food access for large population

    Current Famine:

      Almost half of Somalia's population, 3.7 million people, are affected by the current crisis with malnutrition rates in southern Somalia the highest in the world, surpassing 50 per cent in some areas. The United Nations says it is likely that tens of thousands have already have died, the majority of those being children.

      The drought that has led to the current famine in parts of Somalia has also affected people in Kenya and Ethiopia.

      Previous Famines in the Horn of Africa:

    • Somalia 1991-1992
    • Ethiopia 1984-1985
    • Ethiopia 1974


    "We are desperately seeking to increase the amount of funding that we have," added Tooze.  "We just distributed about 100,000 emergency packages, which included jerry cans, high energy biscuits, sheets.  We are low on tents and those are the most expensive items and obviously the most needed items when so many people are uprooted."

    Tooze says it is UNHCR's mandate to provide humanitarian help.  And while there is no fear that aid will run out immediately, she says, there are still some concerns.

    "We are going through our reserves very quickly," Tooze explained.  "There is some concern that if our appeal is not met over the next couple of months, we won't be able to continue to provide the amount of aid we are now."

    Fundraising efforts are taking place in other parts of the globe as well.  In a recent visit to South Korea, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his commitment to help ease the suffering in east Africa.

    "You can count on me and I have a firm commitment that even during my five-year second term, this Africa challenge will continue to be my priority," said Ban.

    And in New York, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Catherine Bragg told U.N. Security Council members the situation remains precarious.

    "By the time I go to bed tonight, 13 people, six of whom will be under five would've died and tomorrow 13 will also die and will continue the day after that unless we can reverse the trend," said Bragg.

    So far, the U.N. has received less than 50 percent of the $1 billion it had appealed for, to support its humanitarian relief operation.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora