Community rallies to support Somalia famine appeal

A Somali family sits outside their hut in Medina Xoosh district in Mogadishu (Photo: Reuters/Feisal Omar/AlertNet)

A Somali family sits outside their hut in Medina Xoosh district in Mogadishu (Photo: Reuters/Feisal Omar/AlertNet)

More than £169,000 has been raised to help people suffering from the famine in East Africa following a campaign launched by World Jewish Relief.

The aid charity set up a fundraising drive last month as reports of draught and malnutrition in Somalia and its neighbours began filtering through to the international media.

The United Nations declared that the situation in Somalia was a famine last month, the first to hit the country in nearly two decades.

Hundreds of thousands of Somalians have fled to a refugee camp over the Kenyan border, but conditions at the camp are terrible and more than 12 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are believed to be at risk of starvation and disease.

There is concern among aid agencies that humanitarian assistance is being prevented from reaching those in need in some parts of Somalia by the al-Shabab Islamist group. However WJR is working with Unicef and the Red Cross in Kenya and Ethiopia to ensure aid reaches those who need it.

The money WJR has raised so far is being used to provide emergency food supplies, but also to fund sustainable farming kits as part of a longer-term solution for the region. In addition, WJR are supporting a programme in conjunction with the Kenyan Red Cross which provides children with high energy meals so that they can attend school.

Paul Stein, the director of fundraising for WJR, said the community's response since the crisis appeal was launched had been extremely heartening and vital to help those in "desperate need".

"Whilst the crisis is no longer at the forefront on the news, however, the needs remain acute," he said. "We plan to continue our vital work in the region, though remain absolutely reliant on the community's generosity to make this possible."

Donate to the appeal here

Last updated: 5:21pm, August 18 2011