Rawlings in emotional appeal for famine-hit Somalia

By staff writers
20 Jul 2011

The African Union envoy to Somalia, Jerry Rawlings, has made an emotional appeal to the world to provide emergency aid to the drought-stricken Horn of Africa.

As over ten million people face starvation resulting from the worst famine in 60 years. Rawlings, former president of Ghana, told Channel 4 News on 20 July 2011 that "a miracle is needed - not from our good Lord, but from international governments."

The United Nations has declared the situation in southern Somalia an international emergency. Tens of thousands have already died, the latest verified statistics show.

Clearly moved close to tears by the terrible plight of families and children he had witnessed earlier in the day, the AU envoy said it was vital that people overcame prejudices about the Horn of Africa based on reports of piracy, criminality and corruption.

Rawlings had received assurances, he said, that aid coming into the region would be given right of passage - and the governments of the region were under both pressure and obligation to oblige.

In October 2010, African Union chief Jean Ping appointed Jerry Rawlings, now aged 63, to the task of "mobilising the continent and the rest of the international community to fully assume its responsibilities and contribute more actively to the quest for peace, security and reconciliation in Somalia."

The drought affected areas are Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan.

In the UK, the Disasters Emergency Committee is coordinating joint relief fundraising efforts, and is making it clear that "your donations can help provide life saving aid such as food, water, care for malnourished children and medical treatment".

* Online donations can be made at: https://www.donate.bt.com/DEC/dec_form_eaca.html?p_form_id=DEC02

* The UNICEF appeal (for international readers) can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/3b7mxpl

[Ekk/3]

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