Letter to the Editor from Oxfam Ireland CE, Jim Clarken

Dear Sir,

I would like to offer a very sincere “Thank You” to the people of Tipperary.

This summer, Oxfam appealed to the Irish public to help people suffering from the effects of famine in Somalia; and an extreme food crisis in Kenya and Ethiopia, as East Africa experienced its worst drought in 60 years. The people of Tipperary immediately responded and did so with extraordinary generosity.

Because of the overwhelming public support, Oxfam has so far been able to help more than 1.8 million people across the region, and we are aiming to scale up programmes to reach 3.5 million people in the coming months.

Oxfam has supported more than 1 million pastoralists and refugees by expanding our essential water, sanitation and hygiene activities – including reaching 64,000 Somalis in Dadaab refugee camp alone by digging and repairing wells and boreholes, and providing latrines. As well as providing desperately-needed food distributions and cash transfers, Oxfam is also helping those who have livestock to keep them healthy and vaccinated.

With our local partners we are implementing the single largest nutrition programme in South Central Somalia, treating more than 12,000 severely malnourished children and pregnant and breast-feeding mothers per month in Mogadishu.

Right now 13 million people are affected and unfortunately the crisis is expected to get worse. Below average rainfall is predicted in the region from now to December.

This is a man-made crisis as much as it is a natural disaster. As well as saving lives today, Oxfam is looking to make sure people in the area will have a better future. That starts with delivering humanitarian assistance to help communities to build back their resilience. It continues by investing in ways to help small scale farmers and pastoralists improve productivity and improve food security so they are better prepared for the future. It also involves campaigning on a whole range of issues that keep people such as those affected trapped in poverty and vulnerable to these kinds of crises.

Drought will inevitably strike the region again, but the crisis need not be repeated. If communities and countries in the region are more resilient they will be better able to react to sustained periods of drought. With your support Oxfam will continue to work in the region and beyond to achieve that goal.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Clarken,

Chief Executive Oxfam Ireland

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