The American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa is a registered non-profit 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. ARAHA is a small nonprofit working in and with the Minnesota community. For the last 15 years, ARAHA has been delivering the essentials necessary to provide relief to those suffering from drought, disease, hunger, and illiteracy in the Horn of Africa region, which includes Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. ARAHA also helps families break the cycle of poverty by developing opportunities for them to generate an income and educate their children.
As many of you might know, East Africa is currently facing yet another drought and the possibility of famine. The last rainy season was extremely dry and brought little water relief to the region, leading to a situation in which crops and livestock are failing to grow, people are being forced to migrate, and many families have been reduced to eating just one meal a day. Over 21 million people are suffering in this region. When the last famine hit East Africa in 2012, over 260,000 died. More than half of them were children.
This drought is part of a continuing trend of higher temperatures and lower rainfalls that we’ve seen in the region over the last three decades. Both of these trends have been attributed to climate change, and it will only get worse if we do not act. There is no time to lose in addressing climate change. The longer we wait, the more people around the world will suffer from drought, famine, and other consequences, especially people in developing countries like Somalia and Sudan, where climate change effects are projected to be the worst.
We must continue to demand action from our government and from governments around the world, and this march today is a demonstration of just how many people care and are willing to make that demand. But we must also look at our own actions. In some areas of East Africa, people have access to just 3 gallons of water per person per day. In contrast, the average American uses over 100 gallons of water per day. What are we doing to reduce our water consumption? What other actions are we taking? Are we reducing the amount of waste we produce, resisting the urge to buy every new thing, reducing or eliminating our meat consumption, taking public transportation, donating to environmental causes?
We cannot expect to see positive change for people in need in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, and around the world until we first make that change within ourselves. Let us continue to work for positive action on climate change together as individuals and as a nation.