Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘starvation’

1 Million Children

Dear Friends,

My name is Baaba Maal, and I’m a Senegalese musician writing with a personal plea for help. I live in Africa’s drought-struck Sahel region where 18 million people are on the brink of disaster, including 1 million children at risk of starvation. But our urgent appeals for help are being met with deafening silence. Only a targeted and overwhelming demand for action can stop this catastrophe from turning deadly.

The UN says millions of lives could be destroyed unless $1.5 billion in aid is channeled in immediately, but governments have pledged less than half the required sum. The countries who can make all the difference are the US, Japan, France and Germany, but they’re stalling — that’s why I started a petition on Avaaz’s Community Petitions website to appeal to the world for help.

In days, world leaders will gather in Brussels to discuss the Sahel — if they decide right there and then to pledge their fair share, we can avert disaster. Sign this urgent petition now — Avaaz, Africans Act 4 Africa, and Oxfam will deliver it in a coordinated stunt when we reach 1 million signatures:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/The_grain_sacks_are_empty/?bMPbqab&v=15205

Terrible drought, political unrest, and sky high food prices have wreaked havoc on an area the size of the US, stretching from Senegal in the west all the way to Sudan in the east. People here are doing everything they can to survive, but the crisis has hit so hard that it’s difficult to stay hopeful. I’ve seen women and children trying to grow food in patches of land that are bone dry. They know that people are talking about what is happening in the Sahel, but they don’t know if aid will ever arrive.

The UN has only received 43 percent of the $1.5 billion needed — it’s a shortfall of gargantuan proportions. But this gap must be filled, and can be filled by the world’s richest countries, if there’s political will. We don’t have much time to avert mass suffering, and I’m determined to speak on behalf of the people here until they get the help they need.

The world has turned a blind eye to crises like this before, but this time we can make the difference between life and death by forcing our governments to respond. Sign this urgent petition now:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/The_grain_sacks_are_empty/?bMPbqab&v=15205

Avaaz members have come together time and time again to respond to natural disasters, saving thousands of lives by ensuring that crucial aid was delivered to Burma, Haiti, Somalia and Pakistan. We have the power to force our leaders to stop idling away in the face of a crisis we can prevent. Let’s stand together now to demand that the world respond to the pleas of the millions living in the vast Sahel region.

With hope and determination,

Baaba Maal, with the Avaaz team

Starvation in Sahel Region

Dear Gabriel,

Every minute of every day, 17 children die from hunger and preventable diseases. It’s a tragedy you can help stop. Your gift to CARE can support programs to fight extreme poverty, prevent hunger and disease, and respond to emergencies all over the world.

Today, in the Sahel region of Africa, a food crisis has pushed 13 million people to the brink of hunger, and more than 1 million children in the Sahel now face severe malnutrition.

It’s heartbreaking to see refugee children like this boy from Mali sleeping in the open. His family fled one emergency only to face another. Now, the boy is at the mercy of Niger’s ongoing and worsening food crisis.

Help is desperately needed. Can we count on you to invest in CARE’s 2012 World Hunger Campaign and help us raise $1.6 million in the next 60 days so that we can save and change lives around the world, including those in Niger?

The countries most affected by the food crisis in the Sahel are Niger, Chad and Mali, where irregular rains and swarms of locusts and pests destroyed entire harvests. Most families in Niger, especially those living along the border with Mali, are running out of food. Refugees are resorting to sleeping in the open, without access to basic services. Many are forced to drink muddy water — putting them at risk of waterborne disease.

CARE is ramping up efforts to provide clean water, food, emergency shelter and sanitation items to these refugees. Food is running out fast and lives hang in the balance.

You can help turn things around through our World Hunger Campaign. We’re aiming to raise $1.6 million in the next 60 days to fight poverty and save lives around the world. Please give $60, $125 or whatever you can afford today.

On behalf of the men, women and children we serve, thank you for responding as generously and as quickly as you can.

Sincerely,

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

Mixed Emotions

It’s the middle of the week and there have already been so many things happening inside and out. Mixed emotions are coming and going like a change in weather every minute.

Some friends of ours have been trying to adopt a brother and sister, who have been with them for 2 years now, and social services has made it a nightmare experience. The children are feeling safe, loved and thriving and our friends are wonderful parents. Instead of supporting them in the adoption process, a couple of people in social services have fought them all along the way. It’s no wonder there are so many children in foster homes. Social Services, instead of being supportive, is confrontational and always changing.

Then, there is the slaughter in Syria, the revolution in Libya and starvation in Somalia and Eastern Africa, which is all pulling me one way and then the other.

In the midst of all these turmoils was a wonderful time with our daughter, grandson and son-in-love camping and canoeing in the San Juan Islands off Puget Sound. Beautiful places, great company and time to relax.

When I pay attention to my mind, heart and body, there are always a zillion things going on, though I am only aware of one or two at a time. So, I guess the external circumstances, situations and events are similar, only on a national and international scale.

Now, how I choose to respond (or not) to all of these emotions and events is up to me, right? Or, at least the part of me that is aware of itself. Here I go

Stop Somalia’s Tragedy

From AVAAZ.org: The World In Action.

Dear friends,

More than 2000 people are dying every day in Somalia, in a famine that threatens to starve more than eleven million people to death. Conflict between Somalia’s Al-Shabaab regime and world leaders has kept out aid that could end the famine. But a few key countries have the power to broker a deal to stop the suffering.

Sign the urgent petition for a humanitarian truce and forward to everyone: AVAAZ.ORG

The famine-hit area is governed by Al-Shabaab, an Islamist regime that is linked to terrorist groups. The isolation and conflict between Al-Shabaab, other local leaders, and the international community has kept out much of the aid and trade that could end the famine. But a few key countries, including the United Arab Emirates, still trade with Al-Shabaab — they have an opportunity to broker a deal with the regime and break the stalemate that threatens the survival of millions.

We cannot let the politics of the war on terror claim any more innocent lives. It’s time for the international community and Al-Shabaab to come to an agreement to immediately get food to the suffering Somali people. The UN Security Council is meeting in a few days — let’s demand that they take immediate action to support key Arab nations in an effort to open talks with Al-Shabaab on cooperating to end the famine and seize this chance for a long-term political solution.

Somalia’s government was destroyed in 2006 by a US-backed invasion which feared Islamic extremism. But the tactic backfired. Since then, even more radical groups like Al-Shabaab took over and brutalized most of Somalia, and the international community has propped up a corrupt government whose control is limited to parts of the capital. The policies of isolation, invasion and pressure in the war on terror have not helped anyone, and now thousands of Somalis are dying every day. It’s time for a new approach.

The US has already stepped up to tackle the crisis, relaxing anti-terrorism laws that blocked aid from reaching the Somali people in Al-Shabaab’s region. Meanwhile, there are growing cracks within insurgent groups, and some leaders are willing to let aid in. But it is not enough to break the wall that surrounds those hardest hit by famine. Only bold international diplomacy can engage with all key parties to ensure that relief safely reaches the hundreds of thousands of desperate families.

One of Al-Shabaab’s largest sources of income comes from cutting down acacia trees for charcoal, which they illegally export primarily to the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries. These nations could now leverage their economic ties to Al-Shabaab to play a crucial diplomatic role and guarantee humanitarian access to famine-stricken areas.

We urgently need a new direction for Somalia — let’s appeal to the UN Security Council to support key Gulf countries to lead mediation efforts to ensure that Somalis dying behind Al-Shabaab’s lines are able to access life-saving food and health care for themselves and their starving children.

Together, Avaaz members have ensured crucial aid was delivered in Burma, Haiti and Pakistan after natural disasters, saving thousands of lives. Now, as the world watches heartbreaking images of dying children in shock and horror, we can urge key countries to show the leadership the Somali people urgently need — let’s stand together now and help end the tragedy in Somalia.

With hope and determination,

Luis, Stephanie, Maria Paz, Emma, Ricken, Giulia, Iain and the whole Avaaz team

TAKE ACTION AT AVAAZ.ORG

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