Coming to East Africa's Aid

As you all are hopefully aware, there is a massive humanitarian crisis occurring in East Africa due to the severe drought that has brought famine to the region. Numbers vary but an estimated 11 to 13 million inhabitants in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia are facing severe food shortages with rates of malnutrition and related deaths having reached alarming levels. Somalia is the worst affected country, with the United Nations declaring a state on famine last week in two areas of the southern part of the country, for the first time in a generation.

Since a lot of the population in these regions is spaced out throughout the country sides, access to relief efforts have proved a difficult, and even life-threatening feat for East African families.  Already-overcrowded refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia are receiving more than 3,000 new refugees every day, clearly exceeding their capacities to house these refugees and the resources necessary to help them. Even if families are strong enough to flee towards these camps, many have to travel up to a hundred miles, often on foot, to seek food and aid. Many do not survive the trip or encounter other obstacles such as terrorist groups or militias in war-torn areas blocking their access to the refugee camps.

Other global dilemmas have added to the stress and inefficiency of rescue in the area like the sluggish response by Western governments and even anti-terrorism laws in countries like the U.S., that restrict who the aid groups can deal with in their efforts. Organizations like the UN World Food Programme and UNICEF have increased their efforts to bring relief to the region but officials warn that if more is not done soon, close to 800,000 children could die of malnutrition. Undoubtedly, more help is needed to feed those in need in the Horn of Africa.

Please visit the UN World Food Programme and UNICEF websites for information on how you can donate and help relief efforts. If not addressed with urgency, this may turn into a worse humanitarian calamity.