Once again the world is presented with a humanitarian catastrophe on a truly epic scale. So many enormous problems beset the continent of Africa from corrupt despotic regimes, tribalism, AIDS, declining GDP, endless civil wars etc, and all this in a continent that is rich in natural resources and potentially capable of feeding itself and the rest of the world many times over.
Of course, the relentless wars and civil conflicts would be unsustainable if it were not for a seemingly endless supply of arms and munitions -- all manufactured by first world states.
With the African authorities unwilling or unable to do anything meaningful to address the fundamental problems that fuel their continent's inexorable demise, we're left with the wholly inadequate, but well-intentioned, response of aid agencies.
National governments, including our own, have 'overseas aid' budgets but the transfer of money is demonstrably not enough.
As things stand, the future of Africa looks bleak. In the meantime, it behoves us all to do what we can to help ameliorate the current (and inevitable future) humanitarian crises.
Dr Paul Balfe
Bennetsbridge Road, Kilkenny