Little or no rain in the past 10 months, coupled with the on and off droughts of the past few years, have left the war-ravaged country of Somalia in an official state of famine. The United Nations declared on Wednesday that famine now exists in two regions of southern Somalia: southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle.
Somalia is seeing the worst drought and famine in nearly 40 years. With no rain on the horizon, you can help by donating time and money to worldwide organizations like UNICEF, The Red Cross and the World Food Program (WFP) or through Facebook and Twitter. Every dollar goes towards helping those stranded in refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti in relieving the chronic lack of food, water and supplies.
The drought - which has also affected parts of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya - is the most severe humanitarian emergency in the world, according to UNICEF. As the famine grows, thousands of refugees are fleeing to camps in desperate search of food and water. Some people are walking as much as 30 days to find relief and the roads to the camps are strewn with the bodies of the children and elderly who did not make it.
Those who do make it to the refugee complexes like Dadaab in North Kenya are greeted with a grim reality- there is no food there either. The camp, which was originally built to house around 90,000 people, is now overflowing with more than 382,000 malnourished individuals, with around 1,500 people arriving every day. The camps are running out of ideas and out of hope. With no real aid to give them, it is estimated that 1 in 5,000 people are dying a day of starvation and malnutrition.
The World Food Program estimates that 10 million people already need humanitarian aid. The U.N. Children's Fund estimates that more than 2 million children (or 50% of children coming to the camps) are malnourished and in need of lifesaving action, making these the current highest malnutrition rates in the world.
Aid agencies such as UNICEF and The International Red Cross are running out of food and supplies at an alarming rate. Humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, estimates that roughly $300 million is needed to address the famine in the next two months and to prevent in from spreading to the surrounding countries. This number is expected to rise as more and more people arrive at refugee camps.
The situation is compounded by the fact that aid groups require safety guarantees from rebel troops that surround the area to allow volunteers to enter the refugee camps.
Aid agencies cannot help anyone without medicine, food, supplies, volunteers and, most importantly, money.
What You Can Do To Help:
World Food Programme made this crisis their first priority, taking to social media channels to help spread the word and garner as much aid as possible.
In the USA: Donate $10 to our efforts in the Horn of Africa by texting the word AID to this number: 27722
In Canada: Donate $5 to our efforts in the Horn of Africa by texting the word RELIEF to this number: 45678
In the UK: Donate £3 to our efforts in the Horn of Africa by texting the word AID to this number: 70303
You can also donate directly to the organization, here.
The international foundation has been working with the Somali branch to expand services in existing feeding centers, and launch a program specifically geared toward malnourished children under five and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Donations can be made at www.redcross.org.au or by calling 1-800-811-700.
The organization has already airlifted five tons of emergency nutrition supplies, medicine, and water-related equipment to Baidoa as well as supplies for ten health facilities to reach up to 100,000 individuals. These consist of health kits with essential medicines to treat common childhood illnesses such as respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, minor injuries and worm infestation.
$10 can feed a child for 10 days
Text FOOD to UNICEF (864233) to donate $10
$10 can provide 321 sachets of Multiple Micronutrient Powder containing essential vitamins to give a powerful boost to infant survival and development.
$40 can provide a practical and easy to transport scale used to monitor children's weight.
$80 can provide 1,000 sachets of Oral Rehydration Salts to help children combat dehydration.
You can also volunteer for UNICEF, or donate to support a current volunteer.
Doctors without Borders sent hundreds of qualified doctors to help relieve the great need for serious medical care in Somalia. Donate here to help doctors continue to supply treatment and care.
In their biggest relief effort ever, Oxfam has affiliations all over the world who are donating time, money and support to the victims in Somalia with a mixture of emergency aid, long-term development and prevention, and advocacy to address the root causes of chronic drought.
The International Rescue Committee is currently helping those in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia with tasks such as providing clean drinking water to medical examinations and disease screenings in refugee camps. You can donate to their cause here.