Less than a week after a star-studded PSA debuted urging support for relief efforts in drought-stricken East Africa, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have announced their own infusion — a $340,000 donation to health care relief efforts in Somalia.
"Today, three-quarters of a million people are at risk of death in the next four months in the Horn of Africa," Jolie said during a speech in Geneva to the annual meeting of UNHCR's governing Executive Committee. "The work we are doing needs to scale up to meet the needs of these individuals. How we continue to respond to this period of malnutrition and famine is going to define the work of those NGOs, governments, and international organizations working in the Horn of Africa. It will, quite starkly, determine whether a huge number of people live or die."
According to some estimates, tens of thousands in Somalia have already perished — with another 750,000 facing critical shortages and dire circumstances. Pitt and Jolie's donation will reportedly benefit the Humanitarian Initiative Just Relief Aid — a charity group that works to improve the standard of living of those "adversely affected by disasters and conflict in the Horn of Africa."
Ever hands-on, the 36-year-old actress will also be taking on a new role with the United Nations as a "Special Representative" on the Afghan refugee situation. The position will give her access to NATO leaders, as well as experts helping to determine the future of 2.7 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and Iran.
"We're hoping to discuss it in the next few weeks but we want to research it properly and do it well," Jolie told reporters
Last week, it was announced that Canadian citizens had raised an impressive $70 million for relief efforts in East Africa — a number the federal government has pledged to match.
"Canadians have once again demonstrated their compassion and generosity by continuing to support the people of East Africa suffering from this catastrophic drought," International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda said in a statement. "The Canadian government is proud to partner with Canadians to help those affected by the drought. We continue to work with partners on the ground to ensure Canadian aid is helping those who need it the most, including women and children."