The world was in shock today on the news of famine in West Africa.
“Who could have imagined?” asked a visibly stricken Jean Pool, Director of UNICEF. “Africans are so proud and self-reliant. I’m just flabbergasted” Dazed-looking, she wandered off, repeatedly muttering to herself “famine in Africa, famine in Africa…..”
The shock was so great that many even questioned the veracity of the reports. ‘I won’t believe it until I see pictures of starving children’ said senior news executive Myles Long, shaking his head. But proof was indeed forthcoming. Al-Jazeera broadcast an interview with local victim Hakim al-Sabaab. “I have four wives, three of whom are pregnant, and twenty six children. I'm ok for food, but who is going to provide food for them?”
And an ashen-faced Robin Banks, Regional Director of Oxfam, underlined the gravity of the crisis. “This is not just a remote or regional tragedy. It’s even spread to our five-star hotel here in West Africa. Today I had the deeply unpleasant task of informing my staff that lobster thermidor was not longer on the menu”
But help is on the way. Sheik Mohammed bin Said al Kemal bin Suleiman el-Mustafa ben-Krim, Director of the Saudi Red Crescent, has generously offered $100 to a food fund – for Muslim victims only. But challenges remain. As Dai Young, Regional Director of Concern put it ‘our biggest challenge lies in convincing the world that there can actually be a famine in Africa. After all it’s the most naturally wealthy part of the world…’