Somalia is well known for finding themselves in humanitarian crises, due to its history of violence, poverty, and natural disasters. It’s most recent dilemma, is the spread of famine due to the nationwide drought. Earlier this month, 100 people died within 48 hours due to starvation and malnutrition, and with food and water resources becoming scarce, it is expected that these sorts of occurrences will happen more frequently.
Somalian citizen and mother of two, Fatumata Hassan, in a heartbreaking interview, shares that she had to walk 100 miles in search of food, water, and sanctuary. She is one of six million people in Somalia who is in desperate need of these resources. This sort of suffering that Hassan, her children, and half the Somalian population are enduring brings back horrific memories of the 2011 famine, where the world ignored their pleas for food, which resulted in the death of 250,000 people. Wanting to avoid a repeat, the UN, other international organizations, and state governments are desperately searching for an answer.
Surprisingly, a resolution has been presented by a group of unlikely individuals through an unexpected platform. French entrepreneur Jerome Jarre, along with fellow celebrities, such as Ben Stiller, Juanpa Zurita, and Casey Neistat have launched a GoFundMe page called Love Army for Somalia. Advertising their campaign through the social media platform, Twitter, the initiative has already gained much success with 39,000 people across 125 countries making contributions. These individuals, in conjunction with Turkish Airlines, will launch a plane with 60 tonnes of food on board on March 27th. The airline is also making food containers available on every commercial aircraft until the end of the famine. Casey Neistat praises the efforts of those who donated and gave a testament to the influence of social media by saying that, “Using social media to raise a million dollars for those in need in less than a day really illustrates the power of social media.”
The success of Love Army for Somalia illustrates the capability of people to come together and help restore peace, especially in a country that has been deprived of it for so long. While Somalia still faces corruption and suffering in other areas of their society, the transport of food by Turkish Airlines is a small, but an undoubtedly significant step in ending the famine.