#OntarioForFamine, #Famine, #Yemen, #SouthSudan, #Somalia, #Nigeria, #Africa, #Ontario, #EmergencyReliefEfforts
Toronto, Apr 24 (Canadian-Media): Ontario had responded to the United Nations (UN) officials' call for urgent action to prevent famine in African region and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne had stated that Ontario is contributing $2.5 Million for Emergency Relief Efforts in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria.
Famine in Africa. Image credit: worldvision.org
According to a media release UN had given its Food and Agriculture Organization a $22 million loan to help tackle the crisis $4.4 billion bug amount falls short of the $4.4 billion they need by July to prevent Yemenis, Somalis, Nigerians and South Sudanese from dying.
Wynne stated, “On behalf of the people of Ontario, we have heard and heeded the United Nations’ call for immediate support for the urgent food crises in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria.”
After the official declaration of famine In South Sudan on February 20, 2017, UN agencies had warned that both war and a declining economy could lead 100,000 people starvation.
There is an urgent need of food and agriculture assistance by 4.9 million people, which comes to more than 40 percent of South Sudan’s population, according to an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released last month by the government, humanitarian organisations and the WFP, The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the UN children’s fund, Unicef.
The IPC update was based on information collected over recent months, and predicted that in the absence of aid, number of food insecure people would escalate to 5.5 million in July.
The people were mainly farmers and war had disrupted their agriculture. They had lost their livestock, even their farming tools and inflation also rose up to 800 percent year-on-year.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said it planned to provide food and nutrition assistance to 4.1 million people during this year.
Unicef said it planned to treat 207,000 children for severe malnutrition in South Sudan this year out of more than 1 million children estimated to be acutely malnourished.
In the event of this tragic situation, Ontario is giving $1 million to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF Canada) which could provide food, support and medical treatment to most vulnerable population on South Sudan, said Wynne.
Wynne stated, “Our province has a long history of coming to the aid of people around the world in times of tragedy and adversity, and the severity of each of these situations calls for us to do so again”.
The UN had warned that in Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria millions more people were on the verge of starvation and require humanitarian support this year.
In spite of sixfold increase of donor funding over the past 20 years, and donor funding reached a record high last year, but, according to Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s humanitarian chief, only half of the requirements were being met.
The UN had launched a $2.1bn (£1.6bn), largest appeal this year for Yemen and is requesting a record $22.2bn overall in 2017, an increase on the $22.1bn asked for in 2016.
Due to this humanitarian appeal Yemen was able to raise £17m since its launch in December, the largest launched for Yemen would provide for life-saving assistance to 12 million people this year.
At least 10,000 people had lost their lives in the conflict.
The war and the conflict were the main causes of a hunger crisis and it could turn to famine this year if nothing was done, according to Jamie McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen.
In Somalia Cholera outbreak had destroyed the lives of hundreds of people and the future famine threatens 6.2 million, more than half the population.
The tech developers and social activists joined forces to use Ushahidi the Kenyan open source software, besides donating funds, and were able to develop a crowdsourcing platform Abaaraha (“drought” in Somali), which collected and verified data through text, phone calls, email, and social media alerts.
With this platform and a GoFundMe campaign they were able to raise more than $45,000.
Celebrities like Ben Stiller and NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick from all over the world, with help from Turkish Airlines, had joined forces to launch a campaign to help Somalis facing starvation. Through this campaign, known as the Love Army for Somalia, Somalia were able to collect $2 million in less than a week.
Humanitarian groups had been warning, a repeat of the 2011 famine in Somalia, need to be avoided, in which hundreds of thousands of people starved to death after a slow response from donors.
The aid system needs a complete change to respond to the needs of a changing world on time, said Sara Pantuliano, managing director at the Overseas Development Institute.
More than 5 million people, In northern Nigeria, faced acute food shortages and Nigerians had launched Adopt-A-Camp in 2015 and raised $28,000 last year.
But transparency presented a bigger challenge in Nigeria, as there were reports of IDP camp officials stealing and selling donated items which resulted in government’s intervention.
Ontario is also granting $1.5 million to the Canadian Red Cross to address food insecurity in these three countries.
Wynne stated, “Ontario is home to people from around the world, including the areas affected by these crises. Our support will help these organizations deliver critical services and help people in life-threatening need.
In many ways, a tragedy like this is unthinkable, but I know the people of Ontario will pause today to consider how they can help in the relief effort. This also provides a poignant reminder of the prosperity we enjoy in Ontario and it encourages us to continue to build a society that is guided by compassion.”
Gareth Owen, humanitarian director of Save the Children, said that this year they had to tackle four famines with the resources.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)