I made a small donation this morning to Oxfam for famine relief assistance in Somalia and East Africa.
“The Shabab Islamist insurgent group, which controls much of southern Somalia, is blocking starving people from fleeing the country and setting up a cantonment camp where it is imprisoning displaced people who were trying to escape Shabab territory.The group is widely blamed for causing a famine in Somalia by forcing out many Western aid organizations, depriving drought victims of desperately needed food. The situation is growing bleaker by the day, with tens of thousands of Somalis already dead and more than 500,000 children on the brink of starvation.”
Though this crisis is in some part man-made, it also has a lot to do with a lack of rain in the area. Issues of famine extend beyond Somalia. And while in Somalia there are impediments being placed on the work that can be done to ease the famine, progress can still be made if relief groups have resources.
Not as visible as disaster as the Japanese tsunami and in a more remote part of thew world, donations have been difficult to come by for this crisis.
The link above also has a list of aid agencies taking donations.
There is always a lot going on in the world and there is always a lot of trouble. At the same time, there are often many people willing to help if they are aware of the problems.
From that article—
“The UN says East Africa is experiencing the worst drought in 60 years, with more than 10 million people threatened by starvation in four countries – Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. It has been caused by the lack of rains and the failure of governments to adequately finance agriculture and irrigation schemes….To make matters worse, al-Shabab forced most Western aid agencies out of the areas they control in 2009, severely hampering the aid effort in much of Somalia.”
It is true that this part of the world has had famine issues in the past, and that some of the problems could have been avoided if better policies had been in place. Yet these views are of cold comfort to the person with no food. Most people impacted by the famine have had no hand in causing the famine.
I ask folks to please consider learning more about this famine problem, and to consider a donation to help alleviate the disaster.
On a day of local elections in Ethiopia last Sunday, a halo around the sun was seen by some as a sign from God or a miracle of some sort.
( Above is a painting in a church in an Ethiopian town called Bahar Dar. Here is information about that town. It seems an interesting place to visit.)
Some say that an Ethiopian sun halo in 1991 led to a change in government
Here is a story about this most recent halo. Regretfully, the same corrupt bunch has been returned to office.
If I were running for office, and people believed a cloud formation had spelled out my name and this was a sign to vote for me, I would do all I could to encourage such speculation.
On the other hand, if people saw such a cloud formation as the Devil’s work, I would call for reason to prevail and for a campaign based on the issues.
This is all fine by me. It is not hurting anybody. Sometimes I’m a bit envious of people who feel they see these things. I don’t believe in any miracles. Maybe life is easier if you do. In any case, I’m not judgemental about this stuff. People are just trying to get by.
Here is a story about what was stake in Ethiopia in these elections. It seems democracy still has some ground to gain in Ethiopia.
( The bloggers below are not people who saw the sun halo as a sign. I’m taking this post as a chance to link to some of our blogger friends around the world.)
Here is the blog Meskel Square. It is by a journalist who spent time in Ethiopia and is now in Sudan.
Here is Abesha Bunna Bet. This gentleman is someone now living outside of Ethiopia.
Below is a picture of last Sunday’s sun halo in Ethiopia.