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Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti urgently needing help. East End's Somali community unite to raise cash for famine victims

PUBLISHED: 18:00 04 August 2011

A mother holds her severly malnourished son at a feeding centre in Soudo, Southern Ethiopia

A mother holds her severly malnourished son at a feeding centre in Soudo, Southern Ethiopia

Archant

»The East End's Somali community has stepped up its efforts to raise money for the millions of famine victims struggling to survive in the country's drought-hit regions.

One Whitechapel-based charity, the Somali Development Association, has raised £5,000 in the past four weeks and says many of its supporters have family members who have been hit hard by the food crisis.

Their efforts come as the United Nations warns that more than 11 million people across the affected areas of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti urgently needing help.

The group held a conference on Tuesday to urge more people to donate what they can. Hussain Ducale, the group’s chairman, said: “People here are suffering because their families back home are suffering.

“Whenever natural disasters happen we share their pain and the responsibility falls on us. We are working very hard to fundraise by holding conferences and taking collections.”

Collections

The East London Mosque, in Whitechapel Road, said it is planning to hold special collections throughout the Islamic fasting season, Ramadan, which started on Monday and lasts for 30 days.

Salman Farsi, the London Muslim Centre’s communications chief, said: “The funds taken at Ramadan always go to the neediest areas first so this year that will be Somalia.”

Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali recently met the Disasters Emergency Committee to discuss the crisis.

Ms Ali, also shadow international development minister, said: “As the MP for an area with a large Somali population I have been following the news of the crisis in Somalia and East Africa very closely.

While welcoming the aid the British government has provided to the area, we are encouraging the government to go further and help bridge the huge funding gap the UN is still facing – the World Food Programme (WFP) must be able to step up their activity in the region.”

She is also keen to visit the worst-hit regions and is currently in discussions with aid agencies over the plans.

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