African Tsunami

In an article in New African, Stuart Price questions why Africa, facing an on-going tragedy of proportions that dwarf the Asian tsunami, does not marshall the same sympathetic response from the public.

It’s a dilemma that deserves an answer because millions of lives are being lost each year to easily preventable diseases and from compromised health resulting from malnutrition and hunger.

Here’s a short list:

Every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria in Africa, over a million a year.

Everyday, HIV/Aids kills 6,000 people and another 8,200 become infected with the virus.

Six million
under 5
die from
each year.

Millions of people live on less that US$1 a day and millions more survive on less than US$2 a day.

Globally, some 6 million children die every year from malnutrition before their fifth birthday. Approximately every 3.6 seconds, someone somewhere in the world dies of starvation.

Declining soil fertility, land degradation and Aids have led to a 23% fall in food production per capita in the past 25 years.

The children of a woman with five years of primary school education have a 40% higher survival rate than uneducated ones.

Every minute, a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth.

Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, author of the Millenium Development Goals (MDG) report has used the phrase “silent tsunami” to call attention to this ongoing tragedy. Dr. Sachs notes that 150,000 people die in Africa every month from malaria, an easily treatable disease.

The MDG states the time to end this suffering is now, and it challenges us to cut the world’s poverty rate in half by 2015. If this were done 500 million people would be lifted out of extreme poverty and more than 300 million would no longer suffer from hunger.

If it is not done, millions more will die from circumstances that we know how to prevent right now. Do we have the will to respond to the silent tsunami?

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