Published on Thu, 06/15/2017 by Humanitarian Coalition

The famine no one is talking about

The Humanitarian Coalition is made up of seven leading agencies who work together to increase the impact, efficiency and effectiveness of Canadian responses to international disasters and emergencies. The following article and attached image are free to use in your publications. Should you wish to conduct an interview with a Canadian who has recently witnessed the devastation or a South Sudanese now in Canada, please contact Yosé Cormier at 613-292-2687.

When you donate to members of the Humanitarian Coalition, you are giving experienced aid workers, already helping on the ground in countries like Yemen and South Sudan, the ability to reach even more people. Together, we can indeed save more lives.

Imagine walking to the local market and finding only empty stalls. Imagine getting water from puddles and ditches, if there even is any water. Imagine all plant life for miles around dried up, the ground cracking from being so dry.

Now imagine if this was happening in the 13 provincial and territorial capitals as well as Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa.

It’s hard to imagine, but that’s how many people – 20 million (more than half of Canada’s population) – who are right now on the brink of starvation in parts of Africa and Yemen, brought on by a complex mix of conflict, drought and climate change.

It’s a crisis that has failed to gain the attention of Canadians. A crisis underreported by Canadian media and, so far, a weak response from Canadians across the country.

So what can we, as ordinary people, do to make a difference? For starters, donating just $20 could provide a family with a full month’s worth of fresh water. In fact, thanks to the Government of Canada’s Famine Relief Fund, which will match donations made to registered Canadian charities, your $20 just helped two families. With a $100 donation matched by the government, 120 children will have food today.

Why money, and not actual food or other items? A couple of reasons. Through cash donations, aid agencies can immediately purchase what survivors need, when they need it. Relief organizations are able to purchase materials closer to those in need, avoiding delays and steep transportation and logistical costs.

Nyariem Both with her son Machar, who was admitted to a health centre in South Sudan, managed by CARE. Machar is 6 months old and weighs barely 4kg. His mother traveled 10 km by foot so her son could receive care.

 

It can even help local markets and producers, as well as the whole community, recover faster because money is injected back into the regional economy.

In this situation, the lack of food isn’t the only problem. Access to clean drinking water is almost non-existent. People have been forced to flee their homes with little more than what they can carry. There is limited access to health services. With money, aid agencies can set up water and sanitation services, which help improve people’s health and prevent the spread of disease. They can build shelters and provide safe places for children to play and learn.

"Without assistance, I would not have been able to do anything for my son. I’ve never seen such a famine. It’s affecting everyone," says Nyariem Both, whose 6-month-old son Machar was treated for malnutrition by one of the Humanitarian Coalition’s member agencies at the Mankien health centre, in South Sudan.

Machar is 6 months old and weighs barely 9lbs, about half of what a normally healthy boy should weigh. His mother traveled 10 km on foot so her son could receive care.

When you donate to members of the Humanitarian Coalition, you are giving experienced aid workers, already helping on the ground in countries like Yemen and South Sudan, the ability to reach even more people. Together, we can indeed save more lives.

In times of international crises, seven of Canada’s leading aid agencies collaborate as the Humanitarian Coalition to stretch dollars, reduce costs and reach more people. Don’t delay. Find out about the crisis and how you can help at www.together.ca or www.canada.ca.

Resources:

Image: SS170517_RPH_0207.jpg

Credit: Renaud Philippe/Humanitarian Coalition

Cutline: Nyariem Both with her son Machar, who was admitted to a health centre in South Sudan, managed by CARE. Machar is 6 months old and weighs barely 4kg. His mother traveled 10 km by foot so her son could receive care.

 

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