Former President Jerry John Rawlings says the drought in Somalia should be a wake-up call to all African leaders that “we may have solved our problems; but certainly we still have problems”.
Describing the drought as an “extreme situation”, Former President Rawlings, who also is the AU special envoy to Somalia said a special attention is required within the Horn of Africa.Former President Rawlings was speaking to journalists in Equatorial Guinea, soon after he had a meeting with the Chairman of the AU, Theodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo; to ask all African leaders to pledge towards the pledging summit.
He said the problem facing the Somalis should be the concern of not just governments but corporate entities and the citizenry at large, adding, “so that we are not just trying to do something about it for our own good but what steps need to be taken to prevent any such happenings again in future.”
Three new areas of Somalia have been classified as having been hit by famine by the UN.
It declared a famine in two large southern regions of the war-torn country in July.”Famine is expected to spread across all regions of the south in the coming four to six weeks,” said the UN Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit.The African Union has announced it is to hold a summit meeting to pledge help for the victims of Somalia’s drought.The AU said the pledging conference which is expected to come off later in August in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, would bring together heads of state and international donors.
The call came as the United Nations warned that the crisis was intensifying, with more than 12 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti urgently needing help.Tens of thousands have already died and hundreds of thousands are at risk of starvation.
Former President Rawlings emphasized that a solution to the problem should also include everything that causes “this kind of situation in our countries; the conflicts, the fights, the famine situation; and what we can do to deal with the irrigational aspect of things and the education aspect of it”.“What I saw in Somalia is very painful and I don’t want to see something like that again and we have to prevent it from happening again in future if we can”, he said, praising the AU’s chairman for his suggestions and words of advice in dealing with the drought.“A very interesting suggestion also that will give the appropriate publicity and response that the continent needs to give to this issue not just in terms of a wake. In effect this is a wakeup call to all of us” He said.More than 11 million people have been affected by the worst drought in 60 years in the Horn of Africa.The UN’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) said that famine was “likely to persist until at least December 2011″.
Evidence from malnutrition and mortality rates shows that famine thresholds have been surpassed in two rural districts of the Middle Shabelle region – Balcad and Cadale – as well as the parts in and around the capital, Mogadishu, where there are camps for displaced people.
These three areas join the Bakool and the Lower Shabelle region, where famine was declared on 20 July 2011.