Hunger in Africa – Call for a prudent donation

Hunger in Africa – Call for a prudent donation

rt. For months, international aid organisations such as the UNHCR, FAO, Caritas or HEKS have warned of an imminent hunger catastrophe in large parts of Africa. Absent rains and “civil wars” lead to a lack of food, which has long been apparent. Currently these are said to be ‘just’ thousands of people in South Sudan. But soon their number could rise to a hundred thousand, or even several millions. The population is also threatened by starvation in the north-east of Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. The United Nations is talking of about 5.6 billion dollars needed for relief efforts.
The world would close their eyes to the hunger crisis in Somalia, said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during his visit to the Somali capital Mogadishu on 7 March.
The UN estimates that more than six million Somalis – half of the country’s population – are threatened by hunger. But a crisis does not only threaten Somalia.
The situation in South Sudan, in northeast Nigeria, or in Yemen looks similar. According to the UN, the lives of 20 million people are endangered in these four countries (see “Neue Zürcher Zeitung”, 7 March).

  • In South Sudan government groups and rebels are fighting, the population is starving. The oil deposits in South Sudan have become the bone of contention for the Great powers and transnational companies. In this region, therefore, war-like conditions have prevailed for decades.
  • Whoever supports and finances the so-called “Boko Haram” group in Nigeria, which is responsible for the hunger catastrophe in the country, remains open. This is also about power and influence in a region rich in crude oil, and here too the Nigerians do not play the leading role.
  • In Yemen, an ancient cultural country (see Current Concerns No. 27/28 of 6 November 2015 [http://www.zeit-fragen.ch/en/numbers/2015/no-2728-6-november-2015/yemen.html]), a military coalition headed by Saudi Arabia leads an unrelenting war against the civilian population. Emergency supplies are not allowed into the country. Ports, roads and bridges needed for the transport of food supplies are bombed. This under the eyes and with the approval of the Western States.

With a differentiated view, it can be seen that in the countries suffering of hunger catastrophes or being on the verge of it, interventions by foreign corporations or other countries had preceded, leading to poor governance or, at all events, to war or civil war. Longer-term solutions for each of these countries threatened by hunger exist and would be easily achieved.

Today, we are asked to provide survival assistance. One possibility of many is via the Swiss Red Cross SRK:
Postal account 30-9700-0, note “South Sudan”, IBAN CH97 0900 0000 3000 9700 0, Swiss Red Cross, 3001 Bern
***
Helping a drowning person is a human reflex – even under threat to one’s own life. One could be faced with a similar situation ... But what happens if the drowning person was repeatedly robbed 100 metres up the river and then thrown back into the water? Again and again, just before drowning, he floats past us. Of course, we help. And yet the question arises, who is constantly pushing the poor people back into the water, and how can we end this situation?    •

(Translation Current Concerns)

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