According to U.N. Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien, the world faces its worst humanitarian crisis since World War II in the current famine affecting certain African and Middle Eastern countries. More than 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria are facing severe starvation and malnutrition. In addition to the U.N.’s push to mobilize aid to these countries, smaller organizations have made a concentrated effort to fight famine in East Africa.
- Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is a nonprofit organization focused on fighting global starvation, annually producing more than a million meals that are shipped to impoverished countries. FMSC operates in several locations around the Twin Cities, hosting volunteer meal preparation shifts six days a week. The current East African crisis has prompted FMSC to increase its efforts. The organization now aims to produce an additional 10 million meals to reduce starvation in Somalia.
- The Léger Foundation has been combatting global poverty and social exclusion for over 65 years. In June 2017, it joined Canada’s growing Famine Relief Fund, which focuses on providing aid to the millions of Africans affected by the famine. While currently responding to humanitarian demand in Cameroon, The Léger Foundation is expanding outreach to other countries afflicted by the famine including Nigeria and South Sudan. As a new member of the Famine Relief Fund, the foundation will see its donations doubled by Canada’s government through the end of June to support famine relief.
- SOS Children’s Villages is another member of the Famine Relief Fund dedicated to fighting famine in East Africa. SOS traditionally operates as a nonprofit centered on providing homes for orphaned and abandoned children and has built more than 550 children’s villages. These provide children with food, shelter, education and a family life. The recent famine has prompted SOS Children’s Villages to shift its focus to East Africa. Fundraising efforts are now aimed at alleviating food shortages caused by drought and subsequent livestock loss.
- Caritas Australia is a Catholic charity working to end poverty and facilitate global development for people of all backgrounds. Recently Caritas launched a program called Africa Emergency Appeal to mobilize its humanitarian network of partners to respond to the famine in East Africa. Caritas and its partner agencies currently provide local assistance in delivering clean water, sanitation supplies and food such as sugar, beans and maize flour.
- Save the Children is a British charity that promotes children’s rights and seeks to improve conditions for children globally through healthcare and education. In response to the famine in East Africa, Save the Children aims to reach children under the age of five and provide aid to those most at risk for malnutrition and diseases such as malaria. With humanitarian infrastructure already in place in the affected countries, Save the Children can turn its focus to fighting famine in ways such as increasing malnutrition screenings in Nigeria or distributing vouchers for supplies in Somalia.
These are just a few of the many organizations that have responded swiftly to the growing humanitarian crisis in Africa. While there is still need for further funding in these countries, these organizations are doing all they can to bring immediate relief and save lives.
– Nicholas Dugan