Germans donating more to help famine-hit East Africa

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8 Aug, 2011 Updated Mon 8 Aug 2011 16:16 CEST
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Germans have increased aid donations to help East Africa after relief agencies complained the country wasn’t doing enough to stem famine in the impoverished region.

The three biggest German aid agencies alone have collected €64 million in donations in the last few weeks and money continues to flow in.

“After a rather modest amount of donations in the first three days we have seen a positive trend of generosity,” said Manuela Roßbach, managing director of the Aktion Deutschland Hilft (ADH) relief agency coalition, which has collected €16 million.

Peter Mucke of the Alliance Development Works said: “There can be no talk of donor fatigue among people in Germany.”

Donations have come in from a broad swathe of German society, including companies, families, even young girls.

The German government is also pitching in with additional money. So far, it has pledged €33 million to the region and is also supporting the European Commission’s efforts in East Africa with about €30 million in additional assistance.

Much of the cash will go toward relieving people’s immediate needs for food and water, particularly in war-torn Somalia, where nearly half of the population of just over 7 million need emergency aid. Tens of thousands of people have already died from malnutrition and thirst.

But this is only a drop in the bucket of what Somalia will ultimately require – the United Nations has said billions of euros are needed by the end of the year.

The situation in Somalia is prompting generosity, according to ADH, in part because of the heart-rending and frightening images coming from there.

Donations were comparatively smaller for the 2008 floods in Kenya or recent refugee crisis in the Congo, the organization said.

Just a few weeks ago, ADH complained that Germans were giving far too little and fretted that the Somalia crisis was spinning out of control.

“The catastrophe in East Africa has been building up for a long time but because of a lack of publicity, and therefore missing financial means, the necessary measures could not be carried out sufficiently in the regions concerned,” Roßbach said back then.

The Local/DAPD/mdm



2011/08/08 16:16

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