Chronic crisis

In view of the famine catastrophe in East Africa, aid organizations have extended their support and again urgently appealed for donations. The United Nations also reported rapes of refugees in New York on Friday.

The U.N. special envoy on sexual violence, Margot Wallstrom, strongly condemned the rape of women and girls fleeing famine in Somalia. "I call on all parties to immediately stop this egregious violation of human rights," she said in New York on Thursday (local time). She said she has received reports of women and girls being subjected to brutal sexual violence as they flee to Kenya.

The perpetrators, it said, were members of militias, criminal gangs, but also troops of the Somali transitional government. Female refugees also faced new dangers in the refugee camp on the Kenyan side.

According to UN figures, around 3.7 million people, half of them from Somalia, are affected by the famine in the Horn of Africa. Tens of thousands of people have already succumbed to it.

Chronic
Welthungerhilfe drew attention to the fact that the crisis in the Horn of Africa is chronic. Therefore, emergency aid must be urgently combined with long-term measures, the relief organization explained in a "focus" on East Africa. Small-scale agriculture in the region must be promoted and people must be prepared for the consequences of climate change, he said. In addition, the local governments must ensure that all fertile land is not sold to international agricultural companies.

Meanwhile, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe doubled its emergency aid to a total of four million euros. This would enable partner organizations in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia to reach around half a million people. A relief flight next week is expected to bring more than six tons of medicine for children to Mogadishu.

The President of the German Red Cross (DRK), Rudolf Seiters, made an urgent appeal for more donations for the hungry. "The aid cannot be comprehensive and large enough," Seiters told the Dusseldorf-based "Rheinische Post" (Friday edition). The Dadaab refugee camp alone, on the border of Kenya and Somalia, which is responsible for 90.000 people had been erected, meanwhile, with 360.000 people completely overcrowded, said Seiters.

The aid organization World Vision accused the world community and the media of having reacted far too late to the drought. As recently as June, no one was interested in the appeals for help, criticized Christoph Waffenschmidt, chairman of the board of World Vision, in Berlin. He called for a bailout for East Africa. Just as aid to economically struggling EU countries is self-evident, he said, it is equally urgent for East Africa.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Africa envoy, Gunter Nooke (both CDU), defended the late international intervention. If the international community had already become involved in Kenya or Ethiopia at the beginning of the year, it would have relieved the two countries of their responsibility, said Nooke.

For the hungry in East Africa, Germans have donated at least 91 million euros so far. This is according to a survey presented by the German Central Institute for Social Ies (DZI) on Tuesday. 34 aid organizations and donation alliances were surveyed.

The Association of German Development Organizations (Venro) called on the German government to increase its aid. The federal government has raised 65.5 million euros so far. Other donor countries such as Japan, Great Britain and Australia were contributing significantly more, the association criticized. All in all, the immediate need is estimated by the United Nations at about one billion euros. On weekend development minister Dirk Niebel (FDP) wants to travel to Kenya.

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