Real prob­lems

The Compass - - Editorial -

Fig­ure out your sum­mer va­ca­tion plans yet? Maybe you’re think­ing of tak­ing the fam­ily for a week in a cabin near the beach and hop­ing for good weather. Maybe you want to get your boat in the wa­ter. If you’re truly brave, you may be con­sid­er­ing tak­ing the kids camp­ing, far from the quick elec­tronic re­lief of their video games.

Per­haps you’re plan­ning on a trip to Lon­don, or trav­el­ling south to the U.S.

Maybe you’re wor­ried about how much it will cost. Or maybe, if you are plan­ning to go fur­ther afield, you’re wor­ried about some­thing else.

Maybe you’re wor­ried about big­ger-city con­cerns; about deaths or in­juries by ter­ror­ism, by drunk driv­ers, by vi­o­lent crime. But in the end, we most worry about our own: about our­selves our fam­i­lies and our own safety.

Right now, the United Na­tions says it is fac­ing a se­ri­ous hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ter in Ye­men, South Su­dan, So­ma­lia and north­east­ern Nige­ria.

In fact, the United Na­tions says it is fac­ing the largest hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis in its en­tire his­tory, with 20 mil­lion peo­ple fac­ing star­va­tion. To put it in blunt num­bers, that’s equal to more than half the pop­u­la­tion of Canada.

Stop and think about that for just a minute: the con­flu­ence of droughts and civil war mean the largest threat to hu­man life since the UN was founded in 1945.

The most se­ri­ous in­ter­na­tional cri­sis in 72 years - in the case of many Cana­di­ans, the worst cri­sis in liv­ing mem­ory.

In March, Stephen O’Brien, the UN’s un­der-sec­re­tary­gen­eral for hu­man­i­tar­ian af­fairs and emer­gency re­lief co­or­di­na­tor, put it sim­ply: “with­out col­lec­tive and co-or­di­nated global ef­forts, peo­ple will sim­ply starve to death ... many more will suf­fer and die from disease.”

How much help is needed?

“To be pre­cise,” O’Brien said, “we need $4.4 bil­lion by July.”

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has an­nounced $119 mil­lion in hu­man­i­tar­ian fund­ing for the re­gion, but that’s a drop in the bucket com­pared to what’s needed.

Two weeks ago, the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment said it would match do­na­tions for famine re­lief - mean­ing ev­ery dol­lar you do­nate turns into two. Any do­na­tion for famine re­lief made to reg­is­tered char­i­ties - in­clud­ing the Cana­dian Red Cross, CARE Canada, Ox­fam Canada and UNICEF Canada - will be matched un­til June 30.

It’s not much time, but enough to do plenty of good. Think about it: we can find mil­lions to help res­i­dents of Fort McMur­ray who lost prop­erty in last year’s mas­sive wild­fire. We can launch ben­e­fit con­certs for the fam­i­lies of those killed and in­jured in a Manch­ester ter­ror­ist bomb­ing. We find time and money for those who are enough like our­selves that we can walk around in their shoes.

Maybe you’re busy wor­ry­ing that you just won’t have the best va­ca­tion ever this year.

Well, there are peo­ple with much big­ger things to worry about.

And you can do some­thing about it.

Maybe you’re busy wor­ry­ing that you just won’t have the best va­ca­tion ever this year. Well, there are peo­ple with much big­ger things to worry about.

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