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Climate Change and Famine Can Fuel Terrorism: We Must Help Somalis in Desperate Need

The threat of famine looms over millions of Somalis. The drought that has hit the country and its neighbours is the most severe in living memory and humanitarian organisations are warning that three million people are at risk of starvation.

People from countries all around the world are stepping up to help by donating money to charities and launching fundraising initiatives. In fact, the Anti Tribalism Movement has helped further the high profile emergency appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee, which has raised more than £50milllion so far.

But, there are some groups who seek to take advantage of people in the most vulnerable situations, suffering from famine and drought, and do not want efforts by the DEC to help people in Somalia.

A new report by a German think tank warns that terrorist groups will seek to exploit natural disasters, water and food shortages to strengthen their recruitment drives. It suggests that, “as climate change affects food security and the availability of water and land, affected people will become more vulnerable not only to negative climate impacts but also to recruitment by terrorist groups offering alternative livelihoods and economic incentives.”

Radicalisation isn’t just the product of political grievances and religious ideology. Instead, people who are at their weakest or most despairing are those most vulnerable to the ideology of extremists.

Terrorist organisations are parasitical and seek to exploit conflict, humanitarian and natural disaster in order to further their own ends.

Last month, the World Health Organisation issued a stark warning about famine in Somalia.

This, coupled with political instability and decades of troubles means that millions of Somalis are at a higher risk of being targeted and radicalised by terrorist militants, according to the new reports by the German think tank, Adelphi.

The terrorists can falsely promise a better life or a purpose by offering things that are desperately needed, including basic food and water supply. If the militants see suffering, they can prey on those most affected. The attraction to join the extremists isn’t always due to religious or political ideology but, instead, basic needs.

This is why it’s so important that the international community responds to the famine crisis in the region. We have a responsibility to not only help our fellow humans to survive, but also to prevent them becoming radicalised and causing harm to themselves and others.

If we don’t, we are not only turning our backs on our moral duty, but also leaving countries like Somalia open to the brutal agendas of terrorist groups like Al Shabaab.

So, please help the ATM and DEC raise funds to support Somalis suffering from famine and stop extremists taking advantage of those in need.