Britain’s Disasters Emergency Committee has announced that it has raised a record sum to help famine victims in Somalia. The £72 million donated is the highest ever for a food crisis, and the only disasters of any kind to have attracted a bigger response were the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
DEC’s chief executive said the money had saved many people’s lives, but that the situation produced by a devastating drought remained ‘grave’, and that help was not reaching many of those in greatest need.
Relief work has been hampered by the militant Islamist group, al-Shabab, which is affiliated to al-Qaeda (see my blog of July 21), but now rains have revived pasture for livestock in some areas, and some crops are being harvested.
Aid agencies had been afraid that the actions of Somali pirates might discourage people from making donations. They have kidnapped a number of foreign tourists, including a 56 year old British woman, Judith Tebbutt, who was abducted from 25 miles inside Kenya. The pirates murdered her husband.