Thanks to the support given us by the Irish people, GOAL has sent emergency response teams to the Horn of Africa to help the hundreds of thousands of starving, drought-stricken Somalis that are streaming out of the country to refugee camps in neighbouring states.
At the Kobe camp in Ethiopia, we have provided clean water to 140,000 people and over 90 metric tons of food to malnourished women and children. We have been tankering water and distributing food to local populations in Ethiopia since January 2011, and are now operating in 20 locations across six regions, where more than 33,500 malnourished children have been treated, and 47 million litres of water distributed to 500,000 people. We are also dispensing large amounts of aid at the Dadaab refugee camps, on Kenya’s border with Somalia. The plight of the refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya is indeed terrible, but a far greater tragedy is taking place far from the reach of reporters and cameras, and beyond the life-saving help that aid agencies can bring. Upwards of four million of the people worst affected by the famine are still trapped inside Somalia, denied the life-saving help they so desperately need because the al-Qaeda linked terrorist group, al-Shabaab, has threatened to attack aid workers if they enter the country. The UN must move into Somalia, face down the terrorists and the criminals, and create enough safe corridors for aid personnel to mount a meaningful relief operation. Until it does, despite all our efforts in the refugee camps, in reality we will only be addressing an overflow from the heart of the crisis.