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350,000 children are at risk in Somalia

Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Oxfam Novib.

Your support is vital

In April, the UN predicted that 350,000 of the 1.4 million severely malnourished children in Somalia could die by the summer if the world did not take urgent action. That’s the equivalent of over four times the capacity of Croke Park. The impact of the food crisis in Somalia is hitting the poorest and youngest hardest.

The 18-month-old baby girl (pictured above) from Garowe, Somalia was at risk, but her parents carried her and her five-year-old brother to an Oxfam-supported camp to get help. When her mother and father were forced to leave their land, they carried not only their two children but also their two remaining goats.

These goats were the final survivors from the family’s herd of 150. Before the drought, this family could rely on their herd for milk, meat, and money. Now the remaining goats are too weak to produce milk.

Four consecutive seasons of failed rains has left this family with nothing. Now they can no longer cope. They can no longer provide for themselves. They can no longer feed their children. They need urgent food aid.

We must tackle food insecurity and malnutrition immediately. Your support today could provide food to this family.

 

Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Oxfam Novib.

Worst case scenario:

The image of Magda, shows what can happen without early intervention. Magda is fighting for her life. Her great-grandmother watches over her in Burao hospital. During her ten days there, she lost consciousness for four days due to severe malnutrition. Magda's mother is dependent on food from her family of pastoralist farmers. However, with two children and no income, she struggles to feed them as the region continues to suffer with the ongoing drought.

Oxfam’s response

We have been working in Somalia for over 40 years and are currently delivering a large-scale humanitarian response focusing on water, food, sanitation, and hygiene. Right now, our team in Somalia are working with the Water Ministry to drill four strategic boreholes so people can access safe, clean water. 650 families have received food to date, but ongoing registration is needed to ensure all vulnerable families in the region can be reached. An additional 1,230 families have already been identified and more continue to come forward.
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Global food system is pushing millions worldwide into starvation

Food inflation in Ethiopia reaches 44%, almost five times the global average

Food inflation in East African countries has increased dramatically, reaching a staggering 44% in Ethiopia – nearly five times the global average.

This comes alongside a catastrophic hunger crisis due to the worst drought in decades, only exacerbated by the global food crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine.

It is estimated that one person is likely dying every 48 seconds in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. In Somalia, where a “risk of famine” was recently declared, nearly half the population – over seven million people – face acute hunger. 

Against this backdrop, food billionaires have increased their collective wealth by $382bn since 2020. Less than two weeks’ worth of their wealth gains would be more than enough to fund the entirety of the US$6.2 billion UN appeal for East Africa, which is currently woefully funded at a mere 16 percent.

Jim Clarken, CEO of Oxfam Ireland, said: “A huge amount of wealth is being captured at the top of our global food supply chains, meanwhile, decades of progress on ending extreme poverty are now in reverse and millions of people are facing impossible rises in the cost of simply staying alive.

“This fundamentally broken global food system – one that is exploitative, extractive, poorly regulated and largely in the hands of big agribusinesses – is becoming unsustainable for people and the planet and is pushing millions in East Africa and worldwide to starvation.

“We need to reimagine a new global food system to really end hunger; one that works for everyone. Governments can and must mobilise enough resources to prevent human suffering.”

People in East Africa spend as much as 60 per cent of their income on food, and the region over-relies on imported staple food. For example, food and beverages account for 54 percent of Consumer Price Index (CPI) in Ethiopia, compared to just 11 percent in Ireland. While many people in affluent countries are struggling with the increased consumer prices, their counterparts in East African countries are facing hunger and destitution.

  • In Somalia, maize prices were six times higher (78%) than global prices (12.9%) in May 2022 than they were 12 months before. In some regions, the minimum food basket expenditure has soared to over 160% compared to last year. The cost of one kilo of sorghum – a staple food – was more than 240% higher than the five-year average.  
  • In Ethiopia, food inflation soared by 43.9% since last year. Cereals prices increased by 70% in the year to May, more than double the global increase 
  • In Kenya, the price of maize flour, the main staple, has doubled in seven months and rose by 50% in just a month (between June and July 2022). Rising food and energy prices will increase poverty by 2.5 percent, pushing about 1.4 million Kenyans into extreme poverty.
  • In South Sudan cereals prices in May were triple their levels a year earlier, while the price of bread has doubled since last year. The average price of cereals has been higher than 30% of the five-year average.

Global food prices have hit a 50-year high and worldwide there are now 828 million people going hungry – 150 million more than at the start of the COVID pandemic. The Ukraine conflict has caused a huge spike in grain and energy prices but these have only worsened what was already an inflationary trend. This means, even when food is available, millions cannot afford to buy it.

Clarken continued: “To help countries enduring the hunger crisis cope with rising food prices, rich nations must immediately cancel debt for those countries – which has doubled over the last decade – in order to enable them to free resources to deal with the skyrocketing prices and to import needed grains.

“To end the root causes of hunger, world leaders must better regulate food markets and ensure more flexible international trade rules in favor of the world’s most vulnerable consumers, workers and farmers. Governments and donors should support small-scale farmers who in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa provide more than 70% of the food supply.”

ENDS

CONTACT: Alice Dawson Lyons | +353 (0) 83 198 1869 | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org

 Notes to the Editor 

  • Food inflation over the last year in Ethiopia (44%,) Somalia (15%), and Kenya (12%) is exceeding the G7 (10%) and global average (9%). 
  • One year food inflation up until May 2022 for Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somalia was sourced from Trading Economics. The G7 average from the OECD (up to May 2022) and the global average from the ILO (the latest data available is up to March 2022).  
  • Data on food and agriculture billionaire wealth was drawn from Oxfam’s Profiting from Pain report and is for the period of March 2020 to March 2022. Two-weeks increase in food billionaires' wealth would correspond to $7.3 billion.
  • In Kenya, the price of maize flour, the main staple, doubled in seven months (KES 108 in Nov 2021 for 2kg packet; KES 210 in July 2022).  
  • As of 12 July 22, only $982 million of the total $6.2 billion UN appeal for Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Sudan (both HRP and FA) has been funded. This is a gap of 84%. Source: UN OCHA Appeals and response plans 2022 | Financial Tracking Service (unocha.org).
  • Grain prices are from FAO’s Food Price Monitoring and Analysis tool for May 2021-May 2022; and FAO’s Food Price Monitoring and Analysis Bulletin #5, 15 June 2022
  • Oxfam, together with partners is supporting the most vulnerable people in East Africa with lifesaving food, cash assistance and water and sanitation services. It aims to reach over 1.3 million of the most vulnerable people. 
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12 REASONS TO VOLUNTEER WITH OXFAM

Photo: Glen Arkadieff/Oxfam

Oxfam’s work fighting poverty is crucial, and none of it could happen without our dedicated team of volunteers. People just like you!

Volunteering benefits go both ways – helping others can be the best way to help ourselves.

By volunteering, you'll meet new people and build new strengths. There are many more reasons to volunteer with Oxfam – we've listed 12 reasons to volunteer below.

You can give as little or as much time as you like, just chat to your local Oxfam shop manager about what’s right for you.

Volunteer with Oxfam Ireland

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1. MEET NEW PEOPLE

Volunteering in an Oxfam shop is a great way to meet some amazing people. People united by a common cause. There are people from all walks of life, including a wide range of backgrounds and age groups, who you might not otherwise get a chance to meet in your professional and social circles. Finding the things, you have in common could just surprise you!

2. IT'S GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH!

Volunteering is linked to better physical, mental and emotional health. It keeps you in contact with other people. And feeling more socially connected can reduce stress, depression and isolation. For elderly volunteers, volunteering can promote wellness by keeping mobile and active – though we are committed to accommodating a range of abilities at our shops. And you only need to do what you can.

3. HELP THE PLANET

Oxfam shops help to reduce and recycle waste. With your help, we divert 47 million items of clothing from landfill every year. So, when you volunteer with us, on the one hand, you are raising funds to help people around the world fight the climate crisis. And on the other, you’re helping tackle the causes of pollution and over-consumption head-on.

4. GAIN CONFIDENCE

As a volunteer, there's no pressure to have any professional skills. So, it’s a great opportunity to try out new things in an environment where help and guidance are always available. Interacting with other volunteers as well as customers can help boost your self-confidence. And you can be proud to know you’re helping transform the lives of people living in poverty with every shift.

5. GET PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

You don’t need any previous experience to start volunteering. But you can gain some experience by volunteering! This valuable professional experience looks great on your CV. Volunteering helps to show that you’re truly motivated to help others without a financial incentive. It’s a great sign for any employer.

6. ALWAYS WORKING TO HELP

Together, we've helped tackle crisis, conflict and poverty. Last year, Oxfam Ireland reached 12 million people across 9 countries. So, you know that the money you help raise goes directly to the people who need it most.

7. FIND A NEW INTEREST

You might pop into Oxfam with an interest in fashion and textiles. Or a passion for rare books. And leave with detailed knowledge of antique jewellery, or classic vinyl. There’s so much variety to what we stock. And so much knowledge shared between our volunteers. You’re bound to pick up something you didn’t know before. Find something fascinating amongst the donations. Or uncover a curiosity for something completely new!

8. JOIN OUR COMMUNITY

Our shop volunteers are at the heart of our international community, a powerful movement of people united by one goal – to end poverty, for everyone. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by a constant stream of bad news. But volunteering can help you feel connected with everything that Oxfam, and all our partners, are doing to make things better. Because you are part of the team that’s making it happen.

9. MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SKILLS

We love to make the most of our volunteers’ potential, whatever your hobby or professional knowledge! Maybe you have a great artistic eye for creating beautiful displays or you are passionate about photography and video making and can develop interesting content for our store's social media pages. Anyone who loves to chat would be great at engaging and welcoming our customers. Whatever your strengths, we’re keen to help you use your skills and experience to the best of your abilities.

10. FIND THE ROLE THAT SUITS YOU BEST

A lot goes into the day to day running of our shops, depending on the location, size and type. We have around 46 shops across the island of Ireland. Some dedicated to books, and others to furniture, you can choose what kind of donations you’d prefer to work with. We rely on volunteers to sort, price and display donations, to work the tills, and to keep things neat and tidy. So, find your best fit, and get stuck in!

11. DISCOVER HIDDEN GEMS

Oxfam is a great place to find rare, new tech and unusual items. If you're already something of a charity shop 'magpie', you'll love the chance to handle and research some really unique vintage, antique and designer pieces. You might even find some bargains for yourself!

12. HAVE FUN!

Volunteers with Oxfam are highly valued – without you, none of our vital work could take place. We aim to create a welcoming, inclusive and friendly environment for volunteers at our shops, so you can enjoy your experience, and get the best out of it.

To apply, visit a shop near you or apply online.

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Irish humanitarian aid agencies express disappointment at today’s outcome of UNSC vote to maintain Türkiye (Turkey) and Northwest Syria border crossing, for delivery of aid for another six months only.

Issue 12th July 2022

Four Irish aid agencies (Trocaire, Oxfam Ireland, GOAL and World Vision Ireland) have acknowledged the UN Security Council vote to keep the vital and only remaining border aid crossing between Türkiye and Northwest Syria open for another six months, until 10th Jan 2023.

However, the agencies say the fact the agreement was only to keep the border crossing open for six-months makes it difficult to plan for the level of critical aid that is now required.

“This still means huge uncertainty for the 4.1 million people trapped in Northwest Syria already living in appalling misery and dependent on food, medical care and shelter, delivered by way of the border crossing.“ the agencies said in a joint statement.

The aid agencies appreciated the diplomacy shown by the Irish Government (as an elected member of the Security Council for the 2021-22 term) to seek an extension of the border mechanism for a further twelve months, which would have provided a more stable solution.

“While we welcome the fact that for now vital humanitarian aid can still be delivered through the one remaining border crossing at Bab al-Hawa, a more long-term solution is required” the statement said.

ENDS

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Irish humanitarian aid agencies appeal to UN Security Council to keep vital Syria – Türkiye (Turkey) border crossing open

Photo: Goal Global

July 5th 2022

Five Irish aid agencies (Trocaire, Oxfam Ireland, Concern, GOAL and World Vision Ireland) today called on the UN Security Council to vote to keep a vital border crossing between Syria and Türkiye (Turkey) open to allow for lifesaving aid to reach millions in need.

The agencies say the July 7th vote on the border crossing is critical for the lives and well-being of 4.1 million people trapped in northwest Syria, where humanitarian needs are at their highest since the conflict started 11 years ago.

Millions of Syrians are completely dependent on humanitarian aid to survive, especially those who have been displaced by the conflict. 80% of those in need are women and children and over 3.2 million people are food insecure and need food assistance.

The UN Security Council, of which Ireland is currently a member, established a cross-border resolution in 2014 which allowed for four crossings for humanitarian aid delivery. Since 2020, this has been whittled down to one crossing which allows humanitarian aid to reach Syrians in need.  

Speaking on behalf of the five aid agencies, Mary Van Lieshout, Director of External Affairs, GOAL, said: “The priority must be the delivery of humanitarian aid to families who need it in the most direct and efficient way. Bab al-Hawa is now the sole border crossing point for humanitarian operations into Idleb and Aleppo in northwest Syria and it must be protected.

“If humanitarian organisations are unable to operate cross-border when humanitarian needs are rising rapidly there will be a disastrous deterioration in living conditions.

“We urge the UN Security Council to renew Resolution 2585 on cross-border aid to northwest Syria. Failure to renew the resolution will immediately disrupt lifesaving aid operations, plunging people in northwest Syria into even more appalling misery, threatening access to food, medical care, and shelter. This is a humanitarian and moral imperative,” continued Mary Van Lieshout.

Since the resolution came into effect in 2014, millions of Syrians have benefitted from UN-led cross-border assistance despite continued insecurity, conflict, and access constraints. In 2021, the cross-border humanitarian response enabled aid agencies to reach over 2.4 million people per month in the northwest. This provided food for 1.8 million people, nutrition assistance for 85,000 people, education support for 78,000 children, access to life-saving dignity kits for 250,000 women and girls and critical medical items and supplies to help people survive the cold winter months.

For further information, please see https://www.un.org/press/en/2022/sc14954.doc.htm

To organise an interview, please contact Jane Curtin, Comms Manager, GOAL. Tel.: 087 938 0779

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

Humanitarian needs in northwest Syria

  • In northwest Syria, 4.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, which represents an increase from 3.4 million in 2021.
  • This population remains in areas that can only be reached with lifesaving assistance that is delivered cross-border.
  • 2.8 million of the Syrian population residing in the northwest are IDPs, and 1.7 million of them live in camps or informal settlements.
  • People living in camps often lack adequate shelter, infrastructure, protection, and basic services including water, sanitation, and healthcare.
  • Over 70% of the population are food insecure in northwest Syria (3.1 million out of 4.4 million people)
  • In northwest Syria, people are particularly impacted by the crisis in Ukraine because they are largely dependent on humanitarian food aid and imports from Turkey. Turkey imports 78% of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia so any potential price increases or wheat shortages in Turkey are likely to affect Syria’s northwest.
  • The price of essential food items in northwest Syria has already increased up to 22% and 67% (varies by region) since the start of the conflict in Ukraine.

Humanitarian needs across Syria

  • 14.6 million people require help to meet their basic survival needs.
  • Over 12 million people are still acutely food insecure.
  • Up to 80% of those internally displaced are women and girls.
  • Over half of those in camps across Syria are under the age of 18 years.
  • 2021 saw the worst drought in 70 years, affecting access to drinking water, electricity generation and irrigation water for millions of Syrians.
  • The water crisis crippled the harvest in 2021, which is likely to exacerbate food security throughout 2022 and beyond.
  • Price increases on essentials including food, water, and transportation means that Syrians are not able to afford the basics they need and there are little or no adequate public services to support them.
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