Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Then there’s Jos.

jos This is a tech blog. I have tended to avoid writing about most issues in the media eye that do not directly concern tech or its use. I even gave Abdulmutallab a miss. However, there are exceptions. Last week I focused on something that is front and centre in everyone’s view – the earthquake in Haiti. Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t avoid the deluge of information on Haiti. One of the key parts of the news is the tremendous worldwide push to provide aid to the victims. From organisations like the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse, CARE, UNICEF and Wyclef Jean’s Yele to corporations like Microsoft and governments like ours, the rise to the challenge has been tremendous. Most remarkable are the many and varied ways that individuals could give or otherwise contribute. There was George Clooney leading a show that millions saw, and my writing a blog that hundreds read providing or pointing people to a means to give to the cause.There are businesses giving out products for free, developers donating all sales on a particular day toward aid for Haiti and telcos enabling calls be made free to Haiti and using text messages to raise funds. Haiti needs billions for its recovery and there is momentum towards getting it.

Then there’s Jos.

On the 17th of January 2010, violent clashes erupted in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. This has left hundreds dead, hundreds injured and thousands rendered homeless. The worldwide news media covered these events, though the coverage paled in comparison (not surprisingly) to their coverage of Haiti. One thing however that is starkly different is the utter lack of information about aid for Jos. Who’s providing it? How can we be a part? I have searched the internet and couldn’t find anything. The Nigerian Red Cross has boots on ground in Jos providing assistance to the victims – and yet there is no information on their website about their work there or what Nigerians can do to help. An NGO, Freedom Foundation, associated with my church, made an appeal for support this Sunday for the victims of Haiti and Jos. However, on their website, there is no information about aid for Jos.

The point is, as an individual, a Nigerian citizen, it is a lot easier for me to get information on how to help an island nation thousands of kilometres away, than a small city in my own backyard. This blog post was meant to at least equal my Haiti post in terms of pointing to existing efforts and aid opportunities that people around the world can be a part of in some way to help Jos. It definitely wasn’t meant to be this short. It’s only this long because of my intro on writing about Haiti.

This post is short because there really isn’t anything to say.

The people of Jos are in need of food, water, clothing and medicine. They need help making contact with their friends and family who have gone missing and are hopefully still alive. They need help getting their homes and lives rebuilt. And that is just the beginning.

The World Wide Web. Facebook. Twitter. iReport. These are all tools that can be used to drum up support and highlight efforts. The relevant aid agencies need to use them. Join me in putting the word out. Join me in raising the call.

Red Cross. NEMA. Freedom Foundation. Everyone. I’m here. There are millions like me. Willing and able to help. Can someone, anyone, put out information on how?


Picture courtesy of CJAD News