Responding to U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths’ warning that famine is “at the door” in parts of Somalia, Taiwo Ajose, Interim Country Director for ActionAid in Somaliland, says:
“People in Somalia and throughout East Africa have been suffering for months while the rest of the world watches, doing little – if anything – to provide support. The reality is that mothers are watching their children die entirely avoidable and preventable deaths. The situation here is already catastrophic.
“Aid agencies like ActionAid are providing lifesaving relief, but our efforts are merely sticking plasters. With famine now predicted between October and December, unless world leaders release urgent funds, many thousands of children could die.
“By the time famine is declared, it is already too late for many people. But if urgent action is taken now, we can stop the famine dwarfing our ability to save lives.”
ActionAid spokespeople who have been working directly with affected communities in Somaliland and Kenya are available for interview including:
Hibo Adam, Women’s Rights Specialist at ActionAid Somaliland. Hibo can talk about protecting women and girls from the increased risk of harm they’re exposed to because of the drought.
She says: “During this difficult time, I have seen a rise in domestic violence, FGM, forced marriage, sexual and gender-based violence, and miscarriage, and I fear it will get much worse if nothing changes.”
Ahmed Mohamoud, Programme Lead in Local Rights Programs at ActionAid Somaliland. Ahmed can talk about the suffering people are experiencing on the ground, and what ActionAid’s support means to them. He says, “If nothing changes, the situation will be catastrophic and there is the possibility of huge amounts of people dying of hunger.”
Susan Otieno, Executive Director ActionAid Kenya. Susan is overseeing the ActionAid response in Kenya. She can talk about the impact on families and their livelihoods, and what the Kenyan government needs to do to help its citizens.
She says: “Families are losing their livestock and livelihoods. I have seen food prices soaring, and families are having to walk long distances to get water, with no guarantee of success when they reach their destination.”
Samson Orao, Programs and Strategy Lead at ActionAid Kenya. Samson can talk about the situation on the ground and the impact the crisis is having in terms of women’s rights, and the wider political and social situation in Kenya: “The gains that have been made on women’s rights in the last decade will be completely eroded.”