According to ABC News, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd says donations to AusAID-accredited non-government organisations will be matched from now until the end of November.
“We set no limits. However much they raise we’re serious about it, we’ll match it dollar for dollar,” he said.
“Already the Australian Government is making a difference as the third-largest donor to the crisis, but now we will double every dollar raised by agencies already working in the Horn of Africa, making the public’s contributions go even further,” Mr Rudd said.
“I call on all Australians, from individuals to businesses, to donate whatever they can spare during October and November to help us save more lives. The organisations involved all have a proven track record and are already helping those affected by the famine.
“To see this tide of humanity roll in, with looks of absolute fear and desperation on the faces and particularly on the faces of mothers, is a soul-searching experience.”
Oxfam Australia executive director Andrew Hewett says the commitment puts a spotlight on the tragedy.
“I’m here in Kenya at the moment, I’ve seen the extent of the devastation caused by the drought, by the distressing lack of water, lack of food, people on the move,” he said.
“Every dollar donated will be put to good use, helping save lives.”
World Vision boss Reverend Tim Costello says the slow onset of the famine crisis contrasted with other dramatic, sudden crises like a tsunami or earthquake, making people slower to donate.
He says in response to the Asian tsunami, World Vision received $105 million in donations, and in response to the Haiti earthquake it raised $10 million in two weeks.
But so far it has received $3.5 million for its African famine appeals.
Anyone interested in donating can read about the pledge on the AusAID website.
Aid groups taking part:
- Act for Peace
- ADRA Australia
- Anglican Board of Mission Australia
- Australian Lutheran World Service
- Australian Red Cross
- CARE Australia
- Caritas Australia
- CBM Australia
- ChildFund Australia
- Oxfam Australia
- Plan International Australia
- Save the Children Australia
- TEAR Australia
- World Vision Australia
If you are able to give any amount to help ease the humanitarian crisis facing the Horn of Africa, please give what you, where you can, and spread the word. This crisis has been worsening for years, despite sparse media coverage at best, yet now all Australians have an opportunity to help those most in need.