Canada’s IDRF calls on Canadians to help with famine relief campaign
TORONTO, April 1, 2022 – The International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF) has launched a famine relief campaign to help millions of people facing severe hunger in the Horn of Africa amidst one of the worst droughts since 1981.
So far, the ongoing drought has left 13 million people facing severe food shortages in East Africa, with the greatest impact in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. This includes 4.1 million of whom are on the brink of starvation in Somalia, some 1.4 million of whom are children under the age of five years.
The drought has also destroyed more than 1.5 million livestock and drastically cut cereal production throughout East Africa.
“The Horn of Africa is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe,” said Mahmood Qasim, the Chief Executive Officer of IDRF. “Millions of people including children will die of starvation or suffer from acute malnutrition unless urgent measures are taken to get food, clean water and medical supplies to the most affected areas.”
IDRF has extensive experience in getting much needed food, medicine and other relief items to regions suffering with famine, having been formed some 37 years ago in response to a devasting famine in Ethiopia that took the lives of more than a million people. IDRF responded again in the early ‘90s when Somalia faced a similar famine, and again in subsequent years including a massive drought in 2011 that ravaged East Africa.
Not only is IDRF’s commitment to East Africa a long-standing one, but it has grown to include ongoing support between famines, including eight active programs in Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Somalia, and Somaliland. These programs include regular food assistance, and the building of wells throughout the region where water resources are incredibly scarce and poorly managed. Last year, IDRF’s food assistance programs helped 437,172 people, and its water, sanitation, and hygiene program assisted 350,974 people.
Mr. Qasim added that with the holy month of Ramadan (April 2 to May 2) on the horizon, it is a traditional time for Muslims to donate money and time in support of vulnerable people, and he is hoping that the Horn of Africa Famine Relief will benefit from that generosity as well as from Canadians at large.
“There are many humanitarian challenges around the world right now including in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Palestine and across several African regions,” he explained. “I invite people of all faiths to join together in helping vulnerable people in these devastated regions, and particularly in the Horn of Africa.”