The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
UUSC Launches Relief Fund for East Africa Famine
July 28, 2011
In light of the dire humanitarian crisis — severe droughtleading to devastating famine — in East Africa, UUSC has opened the Somalia and East Africa Relief Fund. Using a multifaceted approach, UUSC willwork with partners on the ground to provide immediate relief to Somalis suffering from the famine as well as support communities hosting Somali refugees in other countries affected by the crisis.
As UUSC recently reported, the United Nations has declared a famine in two provinces in southern Somalia, which is expected to spread over the whole of southern Somalia in the next two months. With 3.2 million people — half of the Somali population — needing immediate lifesaving assistance, this is the world’s worst food security crisis in the last 20years.
The long-term conflict and statelessness in southern Somalia has exacerbated the impacts of the drought that has affected the Horn of Africa and East Africa at large, causing catastrophic famine in both Bakool and Lower Shabelle provinces. The extreme drought has been caused by changing rain patterns that are affecting East Africa, Somalia, and Sudan, triggering food insecurity throughout the region.
International aid agencies are still awaiting security assurances before they enter the southern provinces of Somalia, which have been embroiled in armed conflict. Many, however, are now working in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. At the same time, tens of thousands of Somalis fleeing the famine are arriving on foot to refugee sites in both Kenya and Ethiopia, overwhelming the camps set up for them and waiting outside to be registered. These sites are already in severe food crisis because of the same drought, putting grave stress on both governments and the local populations already suffering from food and water shortage.
To address the crisis and support survivors, UUSC will put a three-pronged response into action. First, working with partners on the ground, UUSC will provide immediate relief for Somalis affected by the famine. UUSC will also support communities in Ethiopia and Kenya that are hosting Somali refugees, to prevent their falling into famine conditions. Finally, UUSC will assist existing grassroots partners in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda in mitigating the effects of the disastrous lack of rain and extreme strain on food sources.