By Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs
It has been over two months since famine was declared in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti, leaving 12.4 million people in need of emergency aid. Every day over 1,500 famine-stricken Somalis arrive in the world’s largest refugee camp in north-eastern Kenya. According to the United Nations, the Dadaab Refugee camp designed for 90,000 people is now home to nearly half a million people.
To put this crisis in perspective, the number of severely famine-stricken people is higher than the combined numbers affected by the South Asia tsunami and South Asia earthquakes of 2005 and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
On the Microsoft on the Issues blog for Africa we often focus on the many opportunities present in Africa, the amazing feats and accomplishments of the African people, and how technology is positively impacting the continent. But Africa, and the world community, face a humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, and I wanted to take a moment to talk about Microsoft’s commitment to help respond to the crisis.
Technology is our business and it also underpins how we try and contribute to the communities we serve. We are committed to using technology to help respond to this crisis. Yesterday in Nairobi, I announced that we are extending our disaster response efforts with a number of partner organizations working in the region. We are committing to deliver support to the value of more than $4 million including:
- Monetary donations to NGOs working in the relief zone.- Donating technical solutions and support to lead response organizations to improve the effectiveness of aid flows and monitoring. Over the last 30 days we have been working with IGOs and NGOs in the region to develop a sustainable model for their disaster response mechanisms. Our efforts include:
- Providing access to technology, eduction and learning opportunities for refugees. Examples include:
We have an on-going commitment to Kenya and East Africa – and are not new to the challenges facing the region. These latest efforts combine our long-term commitment with the immediate disaster response needs of the communities at risk.
There are so many positive developments across the continent and so much progress being made. But, collectively the world needs to respond to the crisis in the Horn of Africa and help address the terrible suffering of so many people. We are committed to playing our part.
If you would like to help, we recommend working with, or donating to, one of the following organizations:
• Kenya Red Cross Society• CARE• NetHope• Oxfam-America Inc.• International Rescue Committee• Save the Children American • Red Cross World Vision • Islamic relief