Ghana’s former President Jerry Rawlings is appealing for urgent food aid and other humanitarian support to save millions of women and children presently facing death from the harsh famine situation in the Horn of Africa.

He wants world leaders and citizens of the world to rise up to their responsibilities to humanity and respond effectively to the call to save millions of lives.

Mr Rawlings, speaking to Isha Sesay of CNN Wednesday, said the world must desist from letting Somalia’s stereotype images of piracy and war blunt their sense of responsibility to the people.

Appearing and sounding highly emotional, Mr Rawlings praised the resilience and courage of the people some of whom he said may have walked for days without food or water to reach refugee camps where they hope to find some food and water to stay alive.

“I am afraid this time we have to stop viewing Somalia through the eyes of these conflicts and, you know, the image of the piracy and come to the assistance of millions of people who need help badly, seriously. Otherwise we might end up regretting it when hundreds of thousands of children and the weak ones begin to die in about two, three, four weeks from now. We need medication and food,” he appealed.

The former president who is the AU High Representative for Somalia, while appealing to the West, Europe and Asia to help alleviate the plight of the people, said the African people and their leaders must take the lead in helping to alleviate the suffering of the people if a human disaster is to be averted.

Asked what the situation on the ground was, Mr Rawlings said, “…it’s the same old heart-rending situation that we used to see 20 years ago…and the world couldn’t take it anymore and decided to fly in food. We are back to that situation where a five-year-old kid…looks like a one-and-a-half-year-old child. I am just talking about the cumulative degree of malnutrition that they have been caught up in over the last two years of [drought].”

The situation in Somalia, he said, is dire and the world must act now!

Story by Malik Abass Daabu/