It’s bad time for Africa again.
A drought across much of east Africa in mid-2011 is causing intense distress among vulnerable populations, many of them already pressed by poverty and insecurity. The range of the affected areas is extensive: the two districts in Somalia that are now designated as famine-zones are but the most extreme parts of a much wider disaster that stretches from Somalia across Ethiopia into northern Kenya, and as far west as Sudan and even the Karamoja district in northeast Uganda.
The numbers put at risk in this, the worst drought in the region since the 1950s, are enormous. At least 11 million people are touched by the disaster.In the Turkana district of northern Kenya, 385,000 children (among a total population of about 850,000) are suffering from acute malnutrition
You would expect that African countries (along with the rest of the world) would mobilize to help the victims of the disaster (natural or hand-made, we can argue later). However, helping their brethren in the hour of need doesn’t seem to be a matter of first priority – at least for some African leaders.
Africa’s leaders postponed for more than two weeks a conference to raise funds for the continent’s famine victims, despite the first official estimates showing that almost 30,000 young children had died since the start of the crisis.
It was intended to address the fact that despite the rest of the world having raised more than £600?million in aid, there is less than £350,000 in the African Union’s “special famine fund”. This is despite the Union’s 54 countries having a combined GDP of more than £1.2 trillion.
Strange that, wouldn’t you say? Well, the leaders of Africa cannot be bothered, attending as they are a four-day “governance, leadership and management” convention.
Kalonzo Musyoka, Kenya’s vice-president, Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former president, and Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s ex-leader, were among the delegates attending workshops at the £650-a-ticket conference. A golf tournament was planned for the final day. Famine and drought was not on the agenda.
Leadership at its best indeed…
But this sideshow of governmental inefficiency, sloth and lack of empathy pales, when compared to another travesty that is proceeding as people die
In its on-going efforts to provide support and assistance to the long-suffering people of Palestine, the South African Relief Agency (S.A.R.A) in conjunction with communities and other organisations has embarked on another humanitarian relief mission to Gaza. The mission is scheduled to depart from Durban during the first week of April 2011 and will travel overland through Africa to Gaza. The primary objective of the mission is to answer the call of the Palestinian people to conscientise the African continent and to break the immoral and illegal siege of Gaza and show solidarity with the beleaguered people in Occupied Palestine.
The 10 000km journey is estimated to take 4 weeks travelling via Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.
The aid convoy, comprising ten trucks, will be transporting material to build approximately twenty houses, medical supplies and equipment, basic essentials and portable electricity generators.
I bet the starving population of Kenya and Uganda will greet the passing “aid convoy” by flowers and rice. Wait, they don’t have rice to waste, I forgot…
In any case, here are some people greeting the hypocritical affair:
But no, it’s the send-off in South Africa.
Cross-posted on SimplyJews