Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spread the Word, Somalia Needs Us

If you’ve seen photos or read articles on Somalia, you know how dire and seemingly hopeless the situation appears for this African nation. As a result of one of the worst droughts in Somalia in 60 years, Somalis are suffering from a famine, and to add insult to injury, as they desperately try to flee to camps in the capital of Mogadishu or refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia they are also facing a cholera epidemic.

Unfortunately, despite the magnitude of the crisis, aid organizations are garnering few donations in comparison to funds raised for recent natural disasters, such as the Asian tsunami or the earthquake in Haiti. For example, according to the Center on Philanthropy, American nonprofit aid groups received $1.9 billion and $1.4 billion for the tsunami and earthquake, respectively. Compare that to $5.1 million collected so far by the United States Fund for Unicef for Somalia. A mere pittance considering Unicef estimates it will need $300 million over the next six months to address famine related issues in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

All of which leads me to the reason for my post. The reason is them, and thousands of other Somali children like them.

(Tyler Hicks/New York Times)

Reports tell of Somali women who walk endless miles, day and night, carrying their emaciated children to distant refugee camps in hopes of finding food and medicine for their children; and Kenyan doctors who have to tape IVs to the side of children's fragile skulls because they can't find a vein anywhere else. This isn't a tsunami, an earthquake, or a flood, but it's an even greater tragedy, because it's children dying not from an illness or a catastrophe, but simply dying of hunger. They don't have a fancy telethon with actors and rock stars to ask for help on their behalf. They only have us, you and me. My request is simple. Give. Give what you can, no matter how small, because every little bit helps. This blog doesn't have thousands of readers; it doesn't have hundreds of readers; but if even one or two of the friends who read this blog donate, then I know I've done my part.

I donated to Unicef, but here are links to a few other organizations helping in Somalia: World Vision, Doctors Without Borders, and Save the Children. I also found an article on MSNBC (here) which provides a more extensive list of charitable organizations fighting the famine in Somalia, as well as in neighboring countries being impacted by the deluge of refugees.

I've dropped my pebble in the proverbial pond in hopes that the ripples reach far and wide, won't you.