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Open Letter to the Canadian PM: Urgent Appeal for Famine Prevention in Somalia

Somali Canadian Task Force on Famine Prevention in Somalia
Monday, February 27, 2017

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2


Re: Urgent Appeal for Famine Prevention in Somalia



Dear Prime Minister:


We, the Somali Canadian Task Force on Famine Prevention in Somalia, are writing this letter to bring to your attention to the dire humanitarian crisis unfolding in Somalia – a ravaging drought, which according to the United Nations could become a devastating famine in a matter of weeks. 


In 2011, a localized famine wiped out more than quarter of a million of the most vulnerable Somalis, half them children. This looming famine threatens to envelop the entire country, and humanitarian workers on the ground are appealing for an urgent and massive international effort to avert a modern day holocaust. According to the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, “Over 6.2 million are now in need of humanitarian assistance, … and of these, nearly 3 million need urgent life-saving assistance … Children are among the most vulnerable and bear the brunt of the drought.”


In a joint statement on 17 February, World must act now to save lives in Somalia, UNICEF and the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), alarmingly declared, “it is expected that 944,000 children will be acutely malnourished this year, including 185,000 who will be severely malnourished and in need of urgent lifesaving support. It is very likely that this projected number of severely malnourished children could increase by 50 percent to 270,000 over the coming months.” 

Save the Children, another global champion for children’s wellbeing, has designated Somalia as a Category One Emergency, the second country with this designation after Syria. It says that the drought in the country and the ensuing food insecurity has reached “a tipping point”. Save the Children further warns that Somalia is only weeks away from a full-blown catastrophic famine, which it says could be far worse and more widespread than the 2011 famine, which killed over 260,000 people.


Mr. Prime Minister, millions of people are staring death in the eye and unless an urgent and massive relief effort is initiated most will perish. We therefore appeal to the Canadian government and fellow Canadians to help avert mass starvation in Somalia. 


Said Ahmed Chairperson,
Somali Canadian Task Force on Famine Prevention in Somalia


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