Ben Stiller's viral appeal for Somalia raises nearly $2m

By Imran Rahman-Jones
Newsbeat reporter

image copyrightGo Fund Me/Love Army for Somalia

Ben Stiller has teamed up with social media stars to raise almost $2m (£1.6m) to support famine relief in Somalia.

The campaign, which started five days ago, includes prominent social media figures Jerome Jarre, Casey Neistat and Chakabars.

They initially asked for $1m (£809,000) to fly supplies to Somalia.

After that goal was reached within 24 hours, they're now trying to raise as much as possible through an ice bucket challenge-style campaign.

Ben Stiller has nominated Cara Delevingne, Emma Watson, Lewis Hamilton and American actress Alyssa Milano to donate to the cause.

His goal is for people to donate to the cause through their GoFundMe campaign, called Love Army for Somalia, before nominating three friends to do the same.

How did this all start?

The campaign was started by French Vine and social media celebrity Jerome Jarre, after he saw an article online about the famine in Somalia.

He says: "I wasn't aware [of it], I think the media have barely talked about it."

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Jerome Jarre, along with other social media stars, campaigned for Turkish Airlines - as the only airline to fly to Somalia - to donate a plane to carry food and provisions to the country.

After the airline agreed and the initial $1m was raised from more than 50,000 donations, the group changed its goal.

The new Ice Bucket Challenge?

media captionFormer US President George W Bush was among those to take the challenge

Now, they're going for a viral campaign, similar to 2014's Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised $115m (£93m) and helped fund a research breakthrough into motor neurone disease.

Ben Stiller and his group are calling it #NominatedForSomalia.

Instead of dumping a bucket of ice on your head, the aim is to simply donate and then nominate three friends in a video which you post to social media.

At the time of writing, the total amount raised on Love Army for Somalia's GoFundMe pages stands just shy of $1.8m (£1.4m).

Who else is involved?

According to a video made by Youtuber Casey Niestat, the original group was Ben Stiller and Jerome Jarre, as well as other YouTube personalities Juanpa Zurita, Chaka Clarke, Amanda Cerny and Casey Niestat himself.

Other prominent donors include Calvin Harris, who gave $25,000 (£20,000).

British personality Chaka Clarke, known for his health-related videos, nominated Ellie Gouding to donate $25,000, while Amanda Cerny nominated DJs Steve Aoki and Martin Garrix, and Joshua Dun from Twenty One Pilots.

What is happening in Somalia?

image copyrightGetty Images

At the beginning of March, Somalia's prime minister announced that more than 100 people had died of hunger in just 48 hours.

This is as a result of a drought in the country which has left 6.2 million people in urgent need of help.

Continuing attacks by Islamist militant group al-Shabab, lack of a rule of law and under development have been given as other reasons for the difficulty in accessing food and water.

The UN has said that there is also a threat of starvation and famine in Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria in what they are calling the greatest humanitarian crisis since 1945.

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