October 7, 2011. (Romereports.com)
After the pope made a second appeal for more international aid to the Horn of Africa, different aid organizations met at the Vatican to discuss what could be done.
Cardinal Robert Sarah is a native of Guinea and the current president of the pope's charity branch “Cor Unum”. He said that a lot of international aid has been held back by a politics of selfishness. Cardinal Robert Sarah
President, Cor Unum“Aspects of egoism also prevail in international politics. We must be inspired to develop a policy that truly cares about the common good.”
Other groups present included Caritas Internationalis and Catholic Relief Services.
Kenneth Hackett is the current director of Catholic Relief Services and he believes the current crisis in Africa can be equated to “biblical proportions”. He also promised that his organization CRS would remain there long after the cameras had gone. Kenneth F. Hackett
Executive Director, Catholic Relief Services“In the year 2011 and 2012 it is a mark of shame on us as a people that hundreds of thousands are allowed to suffer and die of hunger, disease, and deprivation because it's difficult and complicated for us as the more wealthy to find a solution.”
In order to get a first hand account of the situation on the ground. Bishop Giorgio Bertin traveled to Rome from the Horn of Africa where he has lived for the past 33 years. He noted that not only does the region need food but also some political stability.Mons. Giorgio Bertin
Apostolic administrator, Mogadishu (Somalia)“Help the present, the present emergency with your money but do not think of the problem that it only regards Somalia and not the neighboring countries. But you will not solve the problems only with food. We need peace, we need the rebuilding of the state.”
According to a report by the UN on September 30th, some 13 million people in the region are in need of emergency assistance. The drought there has affected the countries of Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti.
So far there has been over 80 million dollars in aid given by the different Catholic agencies. Many continue to work on the ground while they appeal for more international support.