Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Much more important

I post a lot about culture war topics. That's as it should be--our culture is sick, some would say dying--and sitting around passively as if none of it matters isn't really an option for a serious Christian.

However, there are more important things, sometimes, to talk about. Much more important.

This is one of them:

An estimated 10 million people have been affected in East Africa by the worst drought in more than half a century. More than 166,000 desperate Somalis are estimated to have fled their country to neighbouring Kenya or Ethiopia.

The UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, said $300m (£186m) was needed to address the famine in the next two months.

The UK Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, said the response by many European and developed countries to the crisis in the Horn of Africa had been "derisory and dangerously inadequate".

"The fact that a famine has been declared shows just how grave the situation has become. It is time for the world to help," he said.

If you have the courage, read this story too--and learn, among other things, how a mother abandoned her sick child in the desert to die in a desperate attempt to get her other children somewhere where they would not perish of starvation.

Our beloved pope has called on the world to come to Somalia's aid. Thus far, I've seen information about making donations to the suffering in Somalia on British Catholic charity CAFOD's website (but CAFOD can't take US credit card information online--you have to call). I would be happy to post similar alerts and links to United States charities, particularly Catholic ones, as those become available, and will update this post appropriately.


Anonymous said...

The UN just announced that the situation in Somalia now calls for world aid. Given the usual pace of the Red Cross though, I'd advocate that we go through private Catholic charities. Thank you for the links

Hélène said...

I am several days late to this, but Catholic Relief Services is part of Caritas International, which is a papal relief organization. CRS is the American version of CAFOD. Anyway, you can go to this link to donate towards the East African aid and they obviously take American currency.

John said...

Here(rather belatedly) is some information on aiding those in the Horn of Africa.

Catholic Relief Services is, I believe, helping Somali refugees in Kenya, as well as helping Kenyans and Ethiopians (see for details). I am not sure how much CRS is doing within Somalia. To donate to Catholic charities working within Somalia, people might try the following (in addition to CAFOD):

Trocaire (

Caritas Switzerland (

Caritas Luxembourg (

(NOTE: These two Caritas sites do not appear to have material in English on aiding people in East Africa, only in German or French. Even if you do not speak those languages, though (I don't), it might be possible to figure out how to donate to these efforts.)

Caritas Somalia (no website, but you can find their phone number here:

Looking at the Caritas Internationalis site might also be helpful.

Last, a list of secular charities that might deserve a look (particularly the World Food Programme and Oxfam) can be found at if you search for "Famine in East Africa: How you can help."

I hope this is helpful. Also, I hasten to add that if anyone prefers not to go through any of these organizations, donating to what CRS is doing in Kenya and Ethiopia is eminently worthwhile as well.

P.S. Erin (or anyone else): feel free to recycle this information in new blog posts or however seems best to spread the word.