East Africa — finally, CNN’s Anderson Cooper will report from the scene

Photo: Newly-arrived refugees run away from a cloud of dust at the Dagahaley refugee camp in Dadaab, near Kenya’s border with Somalia, July 16, 2011.  REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya, courtesy of AlertNet.org

I get particularly frustrated — personally and professionally — when I learn about situations like the drought and famine in East Africa. So many people are dying and in need and there is relatively little attention paid to human disasters/emergencies like this one. I wonder why… Do we feel overwhelmed? Do we fear that the “little bit” we can give and do won’t really make a difference? Is it somehow easier to respond to cataclysmic and more obvious events like tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes?

I am not special or somehow more compassionate than others — I just think about this a lot because one of my jobs at Lutheran World Relief involves engaging US Lutherans to take actions for those suffering and dying due to the East Africa drought and famine. US Lutherans are incredibly generous, compassionate people, who are giving to this disaster — and yet — even from these giving people, the prayers and money flow more quickly and freely after media-friendly disasters and emergencies. Maybe things are about to change.

We often (crassly) say that a disaster or emergency hasn’t really “arrived” until CNN’s Anderson Cooper is on the scene. Tonight, he begins reporting from Somalia. Thank goodness. Now I only hope that he (and others) bring us news of the bigger picture — that the drought and famine is affecting the people of Somalia and Kenya, and that the drought and famine conditions are expanding and impacting the lives of many more people.

How do I stay sane in the light of such desperation and need? I take action. You can too. Learn more about how you can partner with LWR to make a difference for the people suffering in East Africa.