Horn of Africa—a slow motion tsunami


Last month images of parched terrain, dry riverbeds and hungry children seeped onto our screens and into our newspapers. But the crisis in the Horn of Africa—Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda—has been two years in the making. Failed rains, 240 per cent increases in food prices and ongoing civil unrest has now pushed an estimated 12.8 million people to the edge.

Over the last three months, 95,000 children have died in Somalia and Kenya. Eight million have been forced from their homes, their farms and their futures. We’re watching a tsunami in slow motion, and the wave has not yet broken. Things will only get worse.

For more than 25 years ADRA has provided unbiased aid and assistance to vulnerable populations around the world without regard to political or religious association...

The situation highlights the need for continued assistance by humanitarian aid agencies, particularly in Somalia. Despite ongoing challenges, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) continues providing life-saving support throughout many affected areas of Somalia.

ADRA’s work in southern Somalia has been hampered by a declaration issued by the governing body of south-central Somalia, Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (Movement of Warrior Youth), which stated in August of 2010 that ADRA and two other international non-governmental organisations could no longer operate inside the country because they are “acting as missionaries under the guise of humanitarian work”.

ADRA strongly denies this statement. For more than 25 years ADRA has provided unbiased aid and assistance to vulnerable populations around the world without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.

 These women have been given water containers by ADRA and will soon have them filled as part of ADRA’s water trucking response.  

As a global international humanitarian organisation, ADRA is a signatory to the Code of Conduct for The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief, which states that “aid will not be used to further a particular political or religious standpoint”, that “aid is given regardless of the race, creed, or nationality”, and that organisations “shall respect culture and custom.” Based on this code of conduct, ADRA implements programs that directly improve the long-term development of vulnerable people.

ADRA continues to implement a $4 million portfolio in many regions in Somalia, operating out of three sub-offices. ADRA is repairing boreholes and rehabilitating water points in strategic locations, maximising the number of individuals who can benefit from its repair. Additionally, ADRA is providing high-risk areas with clean drinking water through an emergency water trucking response. In an effort to protect against the spread of diseases amongst internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps, ADRA is constructing latrines. A provision of non-food items such as plastic sheets for shelter, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, water containers, utensils and chlorine tablets are also being distributed.

Since 1992, ADRA’s work in Somalia has focused solely on implementing emergency relief and development interventions through various sectors, including water, sanitation, food security, education, health, infrastructure, institutional capacity building, agricultural support, and economic development. In 2008 alone, more than 650,000 Somalis benefitted from ADRA’s humanitarian work.

Now, ADRA is on the ground bringing life-saving assistance to thousands – thanks to those who have already supported the East Africa Drought Appeal. Donations can be made through the secure website or by calling 1800 24 ADRA (3272) in Australia.

For more information about ADRA, visit www.adra.org. Follow ADRA on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest information as it happens. An online photo-gallery from Kenya and Somalia is also available, along with a video update.

Operating out of more than 100 countries, ADRA is a global non-governmental organisation providing sustainable community development and disaster relief worldwide.