Government initiative will keep spotlight on Horn of Africa crisis

Media Releases article written on the 05 Oct 2011

Oxfam Australia has welcomed the Australian Government’s initiative to keep the Horn of Africa crisis in the spotlight with today’s announcement that donations to aid agency appeals will be matched dollar for dollar.

Oxfam Australia Executive Director Andrew Hewett, who is in Kenya seeing Oxfam’s response first hand, said funds were urgently needed to assist those facing starvation and to prevent millions more facing a similar fate over the coming months.

“This is a tragedy beyond comprehension. Thirteen million people are in a fight for survival – that’s more than half the population of Australia. An initiative like this will keep the spotlight on this unfolding tragedy and hopefully encourage people to dig deep.

“The number of people caught up in this emergency – and the level of their need – is staggering. People are dying, their livelihoods have been lost and they are desperately seeking food, shelter and security.”

The Australian Government initiative, which will apply to public donations to aid agencies, will run from now until November 30.

Mr Hewett said: “Today’s announcement is an opportunity for everyday Australians to support families and communities in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia who need urgent assistance, and to see the value of their donation doubled.”

Oxfam is on the ground responding to the unfolding humanitarian disaster. With its local partners the international aid agency is already reaching more than 2 million people with emergency relief, including clean water, food and basic sanitation, and plans to reach at least 3 million of those affected.

Oxfam partners are also operating the single largest public health program in Somalia, providing clean water to 329,000 displaced Somalis in camps outside Mogadishu.

“Oxfam is providing emergency aid to save lives now, and long-term development to help communities in increasingly drought-prone regions cope,” said Mr Hewett.

“We know humanitarian aid saves lives – but to do this we need the support of the Government and the Australian community.”

For more information about Oxfam Australia’s work in the Horn of Africa call 1800 034 034.

For media use images to illustrate this release please go to:

For more media information, please contact:
Oxfam Australia Media Manager John Lindsay on 0425 701 801.