A consortium of aid organisations today announced that Mary Robinson will travel this weekend to the drought stricken region of the Horn of Africa.
Mary Robinson measuring baby Ahukria's arm with MUAC band, on her first trip back to Somalia since 1992.
The consortium – including Concern Worldwide, Trocaire, Oxfam Ireland – collectively reach in excess of a million people in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. They approached Mrs Robinson, who is President of MRFCJ, a Foundation focusing on Climate Justice, to help ensure that the plight of people in the region remains firmly on global agendas.
Representatives of agencies including Justin Kilcullen, Director of Trocaire, Jim Clarken, CEO of Oxfam Ireland, and Tom Arnold, CEO of Concern will accompany Mrs Robinson on the trip.
On behalf of the group, Tom Arnold said: “Mary Robinson is returning to the region almost two decades on from her 1992 visit to Somalia, when she issued a call to action to the world to not allow that country die. We hope that this trip will help shine a spotlight on the current crisis.
Mary Robinson added: “I welcome the invitation from the agencies to visit the Horn of Africa to see the impact that the drought has had on the poorest people. The people most affected are those who are not responsible for it. I hope my visit can highlight this injustice, increase awareness of the impacts of climate change and encourage the international community to respond.”
Mary Robinson at Dollow Health Centre funded by Trocaire. Photo: Concern Worldwide
An estimated 10 million people are affected by drought across East Africa. Acute malnutrition has reached 37% and higher in some areas, more than double the benchmark threshold used to constitute an emergency.
Prices of essential food items have skyrocketed, in some cases by more than 200%, as the price of the last livestock and assets that people are selling to buy grain falls sharply. More than 3,000 refugees are leaving Somalia daily, with children dying of causes related to malnutrition, exacerbated by the long journeys families have to make to reach emergency assistance.
During the visit, Mrs Robinson will spend time with diverse communities affected by the drought including pastoralists in Northern Kenya suffering from the effects of land degradation, desertification and the effect of the drought; and refugees living in camps