Somalia famine group holds first local fundraiser
Published Sunday, July 24, 2011 4:37PM EDT
Ottawa's Somalian community came together Sunday, serving up food at Vincent Massey Park to help the millions of people in East Africa suffering through a famine.
One child said he can only imagine what children back in Africa are going through.
"I think it's hard for people going through that and I think they really need help," said 11-year-old Mikyas Hailemeskel. "Picture them in their spot and then you would actually feel a little about how it could be."
The United Nations has said tens of thousands may have already died in two areas of declared famine in Somalia, and the World Food Program estimates 11 million people need aid in East Africa.
This comes after periods of prolonged drought which have sent thousands of refugees into neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia in search of food and water.
"It's a humanitarian crisis and we need everyone's help, everyone's input into this," said Sarah Esse with Somalia Relief Ottawa. "It's devastating and it makes you want to help in any way you can."
The goal for the event was $12,000 for Human Concern International, money that will be matched by the federal government as part of their East Africa Drought Relief Fund aid program.
"I think it's wonderful, and we have up until Sept. 16 (when the matching initiative ends) so we're hoping to raise as much funds as we can during that period," said Leyla Jeyte with Somalia Relief Ottawa.
Their group said there will be more fundraisers to come in the next few weeks.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Karen Soloman