Despite their financial woes, most Australians are still eager to help countries dealing with famine, drought and natural disasters, according to new data.
A new survey of 1,055 Australian voters finds that an increasing majority of Australians – 60 per cent – support federal government funding of foreign aid to developing countries, despite the rising cost of living at home.
Support rose from 57 percent in 2021 to 52 percent in 2019, according to the YouGov poll for the Aid Against Famine campaign.
Sixty-five per cent of respondents said they supported Australia to donate more to countries in the Horn of Africa, as the number of children facing extreme hunger, thirst and disease rose to 20.2 million from 10 million in July.
The Famine Aid campaign, which includes a number of foreign aid organizations such as Oxfam Australia, will present its case to the government when it presents its pre-budget draft to federal parliament on Monday.
According to the report, one person dies of starvation every 48 seconds in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
The fact that children were dying of starvation was an “unimaginable tragedy,” said Congolese-Australian aid worker Lulu Michabo, who will launch the newspaper.
“We often ignore the broader impacts, such as an increase in child marriages or millions of children missing out on school,” Ms. Michabo said.
“Australians are good, decent people and when things are tough they step in. We all thank Australia for its generosity and urge the government to do what it can to save lives.”
Help Fight Famine calls on the federal government to raise annual allocations to the Humanitarian Emergency Fund to $300 million, and to invest $200 million annually in a global food security strategy to combat the root causes of hunger.
The group also wants a commitment to raise the aid budget to 0.5 percent of gross national income, and for that target to be enshrined in law as a matter of urgency.
The next federal budget – the Albanian government’s second budget – is scheduled to be delivered in May.
Oxfam Australia chief executive Lynn Morgen said Australia must invest to deal with the immediate famine crisis, but also develop a long-term strategy to tackle global hunger.
“In the Horn of Africa, children are dying of starvation in increasing numbers,” said Ms. Morgan.
“Across the world, more people are going to bed hungry and waking up unsure of how to provide for themselves or their families.
“The world is getting hotter, conflicts are breaking out, and new and unknown diseases are emerging. But food is essential. Through science, cooperation and investment, no one needs to go hungry.”
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