Even as technology's breakneck advances make things more convenient and effective, many have been left behind in its wake — so many, in fact, that the world is now facing its largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, according to the United Nations. On Friday, the U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council that more than 20 million people in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Nigeria at risk of starvation and famine, a catastrophe the scale of which the U.N. has never encountered since its establishment in 1945.
"We stand at a critical point in our history. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death," O'Brien said. He requested $4.4 billion by July to fight the crisis.
"All four countries have one thing in common: conflict. This means that we, you, have the possibility to prevent and end further misery and suffering," he added. "It is all preventable. It is possible to avert this crisis, to avert these famines — to avert these looming human catastrophes."
If common sense follows, this crisis should be one of the most significant concerns of the international community. But it hardly seems to be. Stunned by the lack of attention being paid to this issue, French internet star Jérôme Jarre launched an online campaign aimed not only at raising awareness about it, but also to urge Turkish Airlines, a commercial airline he found that flies to Somalia, to deliver food and water to the the North African country.
Disheartened by the media's "totally un-empowering and hopeless" coverage of the crisis, Jarre took to social media to urge his followers to join the campaign under the hashtag #TurkishAirlinesHelpSomalia.
Mainstream media outlets have covered this issue, in fact, including CNN, Time, The Guardian, and more. In response to their readers who asked how they can help, The BBC published an article listing the various charities to donate to and how to volunteer to help. But Jarre's campaign is wielding the power of social media to increase awareness about the crisis.
Earlier this month, 110 people were reported to have died from hunger in a single region in Somalia in 48 hours. The country is currently facing severe drought, a climate catastrophe that the Somalian government has declared a national disaster.
In South Sudan, at least two out of every 10,000 people are dying from hunger every day in a situation created by the bloody civil war. And fighting the terrorist group Boko Haram has "decimated" parts of Nigeria, NPR reported.
Asked if there will be a fundraising aspect to the campaign, Jarre told A Plus that he hopes to hear "good news" regarding the airplane today, and is "considering raising money after that."
A tweet from Turkish Airlines' official Twitter account has people feeling encouraged:
Jarre's campaign has been backed by the likes of Ben Stiller, who posted his own video on Twitter referencing Jarre's. "There's so much going on in the world so it's kind of hard to focus on stuff that's going on outside of our own experience and connect with that," Stiller said. "Lets see if we can make a difference. These people are families, and people like us who are just trying to survive. And we can help them."
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Cover image via Shutterstock / hikrcn.