Rushanara Ali MP reports back on her visit to East Africa with Islamic Relief

On her return from a visit to East Africa to see the projects the organisation have been carrying out in the region since the start of its operations in Kenya in 1993, at the launch of a new report from Islamic Relief on disaster risk reduction in the developing world, Shadow International Development Minister and Bethnal Green and Bow MP, Rushanara Ali said: “I am grateful to Islamic Relief for giving me the unique opportunity to witness firsthand the work that is being done in places like East Africa to tackle the effects of climate change.  The famine last year in East Africa, caused by one of the worst droughts in at least 25 years, saw 13 million people left in need of food, water and emergency healthcare.  Hundreds of thousands fled Somalia due to the drought and conflict.

During my visit I had the opportunity to meet with many local people who are struggling to cope with the impact of climate change and changing weather patterns that have destroyed their traditionally nomadic way of life.  I also saw the work that is being done by organisations like Islamic Relief to help tackle the immediate problems like malnutrition as well as trying to build more long-term resilience by addressing the chronic problems such as access to water and healthcare and new ways of producing food.

I met with the incredibly dedicated Islamic Relief staff who are working hard on the ground in places like Kenya and Somalia to support communities that are fighting to cope with the effects of the famine and to build a new and better future for their children.  From a local nurse who has been working there for four years to tackle childhood malnutrition to a doctor who works tirelessly to deliver much-needed healthcare to thousands of people in the area. 

I am also proud that many of my constituents have supported the work of Islamic Relief through donations such as in the recent Ramadan appeal which have raised millions to provide the resources needed for this vital work. “