Wales coming together in a time of crisis

If you turn on the news or read the newspaper right this moment, there’s a good chance you’ll hear about an unfolding humanitarian crisis, disaster or emergency.

There’s war and conflict in numerous parts of the Middle East, famine in East Africa, refugee crises in the Mediterranean and central Africa, and natural disasters threatening the lives of countless men, women and children.  This is in an unstable world, and these emergencies drive millions away from their homes, rip families and communities apart, and deny people of the basic healthcare and education they deserve. Conflict, disease and hunger increase the already high death toll.

Women and children are the most vulnerable when it comes to a humanitarian crisis. Sexual violence is often used as a tactic of war, and diseases and famine are most likely to affect children. This makes a grim picture. It’s very hard for us to imagine living like this, but millions of people suffer every day under these conditions.

This is a depressing thought, but there are organizations, communities and individuals who are working tirelessly to aid and assist people living in these conditions. The World Humanitarian Day, which takes place 19th August every year, is dedicated to the millions of people who are affected by humanitarian crisis, and also to the workers from third sector organizations and governments who provide vital health, sanitation aid throughout the year, every year.

This day is also an opportunity to ask ourselves what can we do here in Wales to help and are we doing enough?

One argument that often comes up when the topic of humanitarian aid is discussed is our own problems here in Wales. ‘Charity begins at home’ is a phrase that’s often used, and it is only fair to say we do have our own problems and issues that must be addressed. But the phrase would reflect Wales more fairly by saying ‘charity begins at home, but should not end there’. It’s not a matter of choosing one specific problem to focus on. We must take action to be a globally responsible nation, and lend a helping hand to countries around the world that are in serious
need of help.

There are examples of Wales acting positively.

Take the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) for example. The DEC brings 13 leading charities in the UK together in times of extreme humanitarian emergencies, to raise vital funds to be used in humanitarian crises. You may remember the Yemen appeal that happened December last year, or the East Africa appeal a few months ago. The Welsh public raised more than £1 million towards the East Africa appeal. These funds were
used to provide vital supplies to aid and health workers in the regions in crisis. For example, £25 was enough to buy one month worth of food supply for a malnourished child, while £60 could provide clean water for two families for a whole month.

 Appeals like these and our reaction to them show that we do care, and that we can take action to help people who are in desperate need of humanitarian aid.

So let this be an example of how we can come together in a time of crisis to show generosity, solidarity and unity with people all over world living in extreme hardship.

To learn more about Oxfam’s current appeals and humanitarian work, visit: