• Somaliland: Raising Australian Awareness on a Distant Crisis


By Lisa Cornish
Somalilandsun- Jess Lees is not your ordinary 29 year old. As the emergency response manager for the Australian Red Cross, she has seen the worst of the worst, with a unique perspective of global fragility that others her age, living comfortable in Melbourne, could not possibly have.
Over the past seven years, Lees has seen firsthand the impact disasters have on human lives. In May she returned to Australia from Somaliland, where she provided support for the food crisis continuing to unfold in East Africa. It was the worst she says she has seen.
On returning to Australia, Lees was overwhelmed by the lack of awareness and donor support in her home country to assist the millions struggling to survive food shortages and famine.
She is determined to do everything she can — from speaking to family and friends to giving workshops and media interviews — to change this. She discussed with Devex her perspectives on Australian attitudes toward East Africa and why it is a crisis that is difficult to gain local traction.
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