Somalia Famine

Somalia Famine:  click here to see video

East Africa is experiencing what U.S. State Department officials say is quickly becoming one of the worst humanitarian crises in decades. Several seasons of drought have decimated crops and livestock in Somalia, forcing tens of thousands of refugees to seek help in camps in neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya. Rains are not expected until October at the earliest. This means that prolonged support is needed. 

The United Nations on Wednesday declared a famine in parts of southern Somalia amid the worst drought in 60 years, which has sent thousands walking for days to neighboring countries in search of food.About 5,000 Somalis have been fleeing weekly in scorching temperatures to refugee camps in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.”Nearly half of the Somali population — 3.7 million people — are now in crisis, of whom an estimated 2.8 million people are in the south,” said Mark Bowden, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia.The United Nations declared a famine in southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle.Soon after the announcement early Wednesday, the U.S. secretary of state announced $28 million in additional funding for Somalis and Somali refugees in Kenya.”We have already responded with over $431 million in food and nonfood emergency assistance this year alone,” Clinton said in a statement. “But it is not enough — the need is only expected to increase and more must be done by the United States and the international community.“Severe drought, crop failure, livestock deaths, soaring food prices and conflict have forced millions of people in several east Africa nations to flee their homes.In all, about 11 million people are affected in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda and Somalia, with the latter mostly affected, according to the United Nations.Most of the Somalis have fled to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, which was originally built for 90,000 people and is now home to nearly 400,000.Conflict in Somalia is adding to the problem as government forces battle militants in the capital of Mogadishu. The nation has not had an effective government for two decades.”If we don’t act now, famine will spread to all eight regions of southern Somalia within two months, due to poor harvests and infectious disease outbreaks,” Bowden said.Earlier this month, the Al-Shabaab pledged to allow aid groups access to areas under its control. The al Qaeda proxy banned foreign aid groups from operating in the country in 2009, accusing them of being anti-Muslim.United Nations officials airlifted emergency supplies to the south last week after the Islamist militants pledged to lift the ban.The south is home to about 80% of the nation’s malnourished children, the United Nations Children’s Fund said.Aid groups declare a famine based on data from the food security and nutrition analysis unit, which uses factors such asfood prices, weather conditions and malnutrition rates.For a famine to be declared, at least 20% of households must be facing extreme food shortages with limited ability to cope, the U.N. said in a statement.The prevalence of acute malnutrition must exceed 30% and death rates must exceed two per 10,000 people a day, it said.Until Wednesday, the U.N. had called it a humanitarian emergency, which is a step lower than famine.

How to Help

 When I donate money during a crisis, I like to make sure that most of the dollars get to the people who need the help. Here is a list of some of the organizations working right now, on the ground, to save lives. Each of these has low administrative costs meaning that most of your money will reach people in need.
World Food Programme You can donate online to or you can make a $10 donation to the World Food Programme by texting AID to 27722.Charges will appear on your wireless bill, or be deducted from your prepaid balance. All purchases must be authorized by account holder. Message and Data Rates May Apply. Full terms: www.mGive.org/T & Privacy Policy

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