From the huge activist network Avaaz.
18 million people are desperate for food in Africa’s drought-struck Sahel, but urgent appeals for help are being met with deafening silence by governments worldwide. The US, Japan, France and the Germany have the power to make the difference but they’re stalling — let’s sound the massive alarm needed to shake these leaders out from their inaction.
My name is Baaba Maal, and I’m a Senegalese musician writing with a personal plea for help. I live in Africa’s drought-struck Sahel region where 18 million people are on the brink of disaster, including 1 million children at risk of starvation. But our urgent appeals for help are being met with deafening silence. Only a targeted and overwhelming demand for action can stop this catastrophe from turning deadly.
The UN says millions of lives could be destroyed unless $1.5 billion in aid is channeled in immediately, but governments have pledged less than half the required sum. The countries who can make all the difference are the US, Japan, France and Germany, but they’re stalling — unless they pitch in their fair share now, millions of people will be left abandoned through the harsh summer months.
Let’s sound the alarm needed shake these leaders out from their inaction. Sign this urgent petition urging Obama, Noda, Hollande and Merkel to stop starvation in the Sahel. When we reach 100,000 signatures, a coalition of NGOs –including Avaaz, Africans Act 4 Africa, and Oxfam — will directly deliver them to these leaders in a coordinated stunt:
Terrible drought, political unrest, and sky high food prices have wreaked havoc on an area the size of the US, stretching from Senegal in the west all the way to Sudan in the east. People here are doing everything they can to survive, but the crisis has hit so hard that it’s difficult to stay hopeful. I’ve seen women and children trying to grow food in patches of land that are bone dry. They know that people are talking about what is happening in the Sahel, but they don’t know if aid will ever arrive.
The UN has only received 43 percent of the $1.5 billion needed — it’s a shortfall of gargantuan proportions. But this gap must be filled, and can be filled by the world’s richest countries, if there’s political will. The rainy season is on its way, and unless the US, Germany, Japan and France pledge their fair share before then, it will be even harder to get food into remote villages.
The world has turned a blind eye to crises like this before, but this time we can make the difference between life and death by forcing our governments to respond. Sign this urgent petition now:
Avaaz members have come together time and time again to respond to natural disasters, saving thousands of lives by ensuring that crucial aid was delivered to Burma, Haiti, Somalia and Pakistan. We have the power to force our leaders to stop idling away in the face of a crisis we can prevent. Let’s stand together now to demand that the world respond to the pleas of the millions living in the vast Sahel region.
With hope and determination,
Baaba Maal, with the Avaaz team
UN: 18 Million in West Africa to Go Hungry in 2012 (The Associated Press)
Meeting of like minds can save the hungry millions in Sahel (Sydney Morning Herald)