DROUGHT CRISIS IN EAST AFRICA & BEYOND: A message from Richard Walden, President & CEO
Operation USA is focusing on providing safe (e.g., purified) water to refugees from Somalia languishing in the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, and to internally displaced drought victims in southern Ethiopia. We are working with local partners including Oxfam America and Africa Humanitarian Action, an Ethiopia-based Pan-African NGO. Both are excellent NGOs and long-time partners of Operation USA.
The very weak global response to what is now 12 million drought-affected people in a half-dozen East African countries requires us to ask you to dig deeper than you already have… Every donation—large or small—makes an impact.
The images we’ve all seen—mothers leaving dying children behind them as they walk out of Somalia to try to save their remaining children—are haunting and so reminiscent of the 1984 East African Famine which produced such a massive response from the public. Operation USA, then known as Operation California, flew the very first Boeing 747 cargo jet into Ethiopia carrying 120 tons of emergency aid in 1985—and we’ve been helping Ethiopians ever since. Somalia, in 1980, was the very first African country where we worked…so we’re not new to the cycles of war and famine which have afflicted that part of Africa.
I want you to know that we take on these new responsibilities without abandoning our very important work here at home—in Joplin, MO, Tuscaloosa, AL, New Orleans, LA and throughout California. Americans are hurting from both natural disasters like the midwest tornados and Hurricane Katrina; and, from manmade disasters like an economy in free fall which, too, has displaced people from their homes, their jobs, their health insurance. It’s not an either/or situation but it does depend on all of us pitching in where we can.
Your support is always appreciated.
President & CEO
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*Photo Reuters/Feisal Omar, courtesy Trust.org-AlertNet.