Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Praying for Somalia

I posted about this earlier tonight on my main blog, but I wanted to share it here, too:

The United Nations has declared a famine in two areas of southern Somalia as the region suffers the worst drought in more than half a century.

The UN said the humanitarian situation in southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle had deteriorated rapidly.

It is the first time that the country has seen famine in 19 years.

Meanwhile, the UN and US have said aid agencies need further safety guarantees from armed groups in Somalia to allow staff to reach those in need.

Al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-affiliated group which controls large swathes of south and central Somalia, had imposed a ban on foreign aid agencies in its territories in 2009, but has recently allowed limited access.

An estimated 10 million people have been affected in East Africa by the worst drought in more than half a century. More than 166,000 desperate Somalis are estimated to have fled their country to neighbouring Kenya or Ethiopia.

The UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, said $300m (£186m) was needed to address the famine in the next two months.

The UK Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, said the response by many European and developed countries to the crisis in the Horn of Africa had been "derisory and dangerously inadequate".

"The fact that a famine has been declared shows just how grave the situation has become. It is time for the world to help," he said.

Read the rest here.

Catholic social justice teaching makes it clear that these are our brothers and sisters suffering so horrifically from the effects of this drought and the resulting famine. Political realities have only made the situation worse than it would otherwise be. Pope Benedict XVI has called on the nations of the world to rush to Somalia's aid.

Let us pray for the suffering, and do what we can to help.


2 comments:

  1. I wanted to (I fear too belatedly) provide some information on aiding those in the Horn of Africa.

    Catholic Relief Services is, I believe, helping Somali refugees in Kenya, as well as helping Kenyans and Ethiopians (all of which is very important and deserving of support--I donated to this effort). I am not sure how much CRS is doing within Somalia, though. To donate to Catholic charities working within Somalia, people might try the following (in addition to CAFOD, mentioned in Red's post):

    Trocaire (http://www.trocaire.org/)

    Caritas Switzerland (http://web.caritas.ch/page2.php?lang=de)

    Caritas Luxembourg (http://www.caritas.lu/index.php)

    Caritas Somalia (no website, but you can find their phone number here: http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/mona/somalia.html)

    Looking at the Caritas Internationalis site might also be helpful.

    Last, a list of secular charities that might deserve a look (particularly the World Food Programme and Oxfam) can be found here:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/07/20/iyw.howtohelp.somalia.famine/

    I hope this is helpful.

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  2. Here (rather belatedly) is some information on aiding those in the Horn of Africa (also posted at And Sometimes Tea...apologies for any problems from the redundancy).

    Catholic Relief Services is, I believe, helping Somali refugees in Kenya, as well as helping Kenyans and Ethiopians (see www.crs.org for details). I am not sure how much CRS is doing within Somalia. To donate to Catholic charities working within Somalia, people might try the following (in addition to CAFOD, mentioned in Erin's post):

    Trocaire (http://www.trocaire.org/)

    Caritas Switzerland (http://web.caritas.ch/page2.php?lang=de)

    Caritas Luxembourg (http://www.caritas.lu/index.php)

    (NOTE: These two Caritas sites do not appear to have material in English on aiding people in East Africa, only in German or French. Even if you do not speak those languages, though (I don't), it might be possible to figure out how to donate to these efforts.)

    Caritas Somalia (no website, but you can find their phone number here: http://www.caritas.org/worldmap/mona/somalia.html)

    Looking at the Caritas Internationalis site might also be helpful.

    Last, a list of secular charities that might deserve a look (particularly the World Food Programme and Oxfam) can be found at www.cnn.com if you search for "Famine in East Africa: How you can help."

    I hope this is helpful. Also, I hasten to add that if anyone prefers not to go through any of these organizations, donating to what CRS is doing in Kenya and Ethiopia is eminently worthwhile as well.

    P.S. Erin (or anyone else): feel free to recycle this information in new blog posts or however seems best to spread the word.

    ReplyDelete