East Africa Famine Appeal Update

€12,000 and counting in donations 
for the East Africa Famine appeal

More than €12,000 in donations for the East Africa Famine appeal have been received since its launch by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Malta on 30 July. The appeal is supporting the Famine Relief Project of the Jesuits of the Eastern Africa Province as well as new projects by JRS Eastern Africa for Somali refugees who have crossed the border into Ethiopia.

JRS Eastern Africa Regional Director Fr Frido Pflueger SJ has just been visiting three refugee camps in Dollo Ado (Bokolmayo, Melkadida and Helawen) hosting more than 100,000 Somali refugees. The latest refugee camp, opened on 4 August, is already home to an estimated 12,000 Somalis fleeing the famine at home.

The Horn of Africa has been facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis as a result of the drought in the region and the ongoing violence in Somalia. The UN has declared famine in five areas of southern Somalia; parts of south eastern Ethiopia and northern Kenya are also seriously affected. Through the Famine Relief Project, Jesuits are partnering with local religious communities in the affected areas in the north of Kenya to provide the resources to purchase food and relief items. JRS has confirmed its plans to establish new projects in Dollo Ado camps in Ethiopia. It will send a team to work in the area in the coming weeks and start as soon as possible to provide educational and psychosocial support to the refugee population. To get to the camps, many have had to walk between 18 and 19 days under the sun, trying to escape the famine caused by the worst drought in recent years and conflict-created instability.

Although the number of refugees arriving in Dollo Ado camps has dropped from 1,700 to 100-140 a day, every camp except the Hellawen, which opened on 4 August, is completely full.

"What impressed me most was the large number of children in each camp. More than 80 percent of the population is under 18 years, and have nothing to do. The best way to help is to build schools. When they are in school, they have something meaningful to do and are secure. It also gives them a perspective for their future", Fr Pflueger, explained.

According to Fr Pflueger, once again, education becomes a key intervention in emergency situations, not only saving lives but also ensuring the physical, psychological and cognitive needs of children and adolescents are met. Education is a fundamental right in all situations.

As the Ethiopian state agency, the Administration of Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), is taking responsibility for primary education, JRS plans to focus on providing post-primary education in one of the older camps, Melkadia, in which the number of children is very high.

"We will also begin psychosocial support through activities, such as sports and theatre, so they can do something during the day," said Fr Pflueger.

Anyone wishing to support this appeal may

  • donate online
  • send a cheque made out to JRS – East Africa Famine (JRS Malta, 50 Triq ix-Xorrox, Birkirkara  BKR 1631)
  • or deposit money in one of these accounts:

BOV:  JRS – East Africa Famine – Ac. No. 40020100995

HSBC: JRS – East Africa Famine – Ac.  No. 016116055057

Jesuit Refugee Service Malta  •  St Aloysius’ College Sports Complex  •  50, Triq ix-Xorrox  •  Birkirkara  BKR 1631 •  Malta
Phone: +356 2144 2751  • Fax: +356 2144 2752  •   email: info[a]jrsmalta.org  • www.jrsmalta.org

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