Update on East African Famine

As you're well aware, we have been covering the famine in the Horn of Africa and offering ways everyone can donate to the cause. Where famine existed in only two areas of Somalia, it now exists in five. Just two days ago, United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, once again stated that more needs to urgently be done in East Africa since "(the) catastrophic combination of conflicts, high food prices and drought has left more than 11 million people in desperate needs." Ki-Moon also stressed the need to stir up more fund-raising efforts and improve access for humanitarian workers to deliver aid in Somalia.

Although, The World Food Programme (WFP) has made nine airlifts to Mombasa, Kenya, carrying 800 metric tons of High Energy Biscuits, enough to feed 1.6 million people for a day, more aid is needed and will likely be needed for the rest of this year, if not longer.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of the high risk of disease outbreaks in drought-affected areas in East Africa. With a suspected measles outbreak in the Dollo Ado camps in Ethiopia, rest from grief appears dim for refugees.

So far the drought and famine across Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia has left more than 12 million people in desperate need of aid and claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people (half of them younger than 5), while the situation continues to worsen. Please stay tuned to our website for future updates on the situation, as well as events that we will put on to help raise money for this cause.

Meanwhile, click on our banner below to donate money to the World Food Programme.

Photo: Oxfam International

Giving Thanks - Food Thoughts with Sheryl Estrada

As I prepare to enjoy a meal with family and friends during the Thanksgiving holiday, I think it is important to take a moment to be grateful.

Here are food and drink that I'm grateful for:

Clean water.

It is fortunate to be able to turn on a faucet and have clean, clear water at my disposal. Everyone should have access, as it is a necessity for life.

The UNICEF Tap Project is a great way to help make this happen. Funds raised by the project go towards UNICEF's efforts to bring clean and accessible water to children around the world. The project, originated in 2007 in New York City, works by participating restaurants asking customers to donate $1 or more for tap water, which is usually free, occurring annually during World Water Week. Chef Marcus Samuelsson is an ambassador for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. For more information, click here.

Rice.

Rice is a major part of the world's diet. There are about 120,000 varieties. I particularly enjoy brown rice for its nutrients. However, what I am most grateful for is the ability rice has to be a major tool in curbing world hunger.

-FreeRice provides a clever way to feed many. The site offers quiz questions in which every correct answer provides grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. According to the website, "...since 2007 FreeRice has helped raise enough funds to feed more than 4 million people for a day in countries like Uganda and Bangladesh."

-To celebrate "World Food Day" this year, 204 students at The New School came up with "Rice Day." Students ate rice instead of the regular school meal, and donated the difference to the World Food Program.

Fresh fruit and vegetables.

The nutritional value of fresh fruit and vegetables is essential. I am grateful to be able to visit a farmers' market, and have grocery stores in my vicinity that provide fresh produce.

AmpleHarvest.org encourages gardeners with extra produce to donate to a local food pantry. Through the organization, gardeners will have access to a central nationwide directory of food pantries. The goal is to help diminish hunger in America "garden-by-garden." For more information, click here.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!