Monday, September 19, 2011

Photos and articles from Somalia -- and how you can help

I was overwhelmed by these photos on the NY Times web site about the mass starvation that's occurring in Somalia (warning: not for the faint of heart).  750,000 people could die in coming months, but little is being done, for reasons discussed in the last article below. 


I will match anyone's donation up to $100 each – just email me and let me know – and I will donate a minimum of $2,500 (but I hope 50 of you make me donate $5,000!; and if this email goes viral, I'll ask some friends to help).  At the end of this email is a list of organizations working to address the famine.


Below is an op ed in today's NYT by Nick Kristof – here's an excerpt:

The United Nations warns that the famine in the Horn of Africa could kill 750,000 people in the coming months, and tens of thousands have already died. In a German aid hospital here in Dadaab, Dr. Daniel Muchiri showed four wards full of children suffering from severe malnutrition. Even among the rare children who reach this well-equipped hospital, one dies each day on average — and Malyun Muhammad may soon become one of them.

…Listening to the stories of these Somalis left my heart aching. Consider one man I met who had just trekked across the desert and arrived at Dadaab: Bele Muhammad, a 45-year-old farmer. Two of his children had starved to death in the previous three weeks, he told me. A 14-year-old boy, Abdul Aziz, died first, and then an 8-year-old girl, Fatuma. Mr. Bele's wife and six remaining children were near death, so he set out on foot with 50 others to walk to Kenya to scout a route.

It was a horrific 10-day journey, partly because eight armed bandits attacked his group shortly after it crossed the Kenyan border. "The robbers asked me for money, and I said I had none," Mr. Bele recounted.

The bandits separated the men from the women and then, he thinks, raped the women. The bandits tortured the men with fire to find where they had hidden money; Mr. Bele showed me the burns on his face and arms.

Finally, the bandits realized he had nothing and released him. And now, despite the ordeal, Mr. Bele is sending word back to his family that his three strongest children, ages 4 through 12, should set out and try to walk to Dadaab — even if that means they will be attacked by bandits, even tortured or raped along the way.

"If they stay in Somalia, they will die of hunger," he said bluntly. That's what the choice comes down to for many Somalis: Do they risk starvation at home or torture and rape while fleeing?


Glimpses of the Next Great Famine

Published: September 17, 2011


Famine Ravages Somalia in a World Less Likely to Intervene

Sven Torfinn for The New York Times

A feeding center in Dolo, near the Ethiopian border in southern central Somalia.



Famine in Somalia: How to help

View Photo Gallery —  U.N. officials are warning of a deepening crisis in East Africa caused by a severe drought and fighting in Somalia, with tens of thousands of children at risk of dying.

Famine in Somalia: How to help

Washington Post

Famine in parts of Somalia has killed tens of thousands of people, according the United Nations. Half of the population faces hunger, malnutrition and other related problems, and tens of thousands of refugees are fleeing to Ethi­o­pia and Kenya.

Here are some organizations that are taking donations for the relief effort.



The Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya is extremely beyond capacity and the influx of new arrivals is straining already-limited resources. CARE delivers emergency aid to save lives in Somalia.

Catholic Relief Services


Somalia, Kenya and Ethi­o­pia are in need of humanitarian assistance due to drought. CRS is working to feed millions of people suffering from hunger in these countries.

ChildFund International

1-800-776-6767 or text RESPOND to 90999

ChildFund is working in Ethi­o­pia and Kenya to provide food, water and basic health services, with emphasis on the 0-5 age category, because of the vulnerability of the age group and lifelong implications of inadequate food intake.

Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres)


The Somali population — those in Somalia and the many who have fled to overcrowded camps in Kenya and Ethi­o­pia — is drastically affected by drought and famine. DWB is reinforcing its medical intervention in these areas.

International Relief and Development


International Relief and Development is working to provide clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to drought-affected children and families.

Mercy Corps


Mercy Corps has teams on the ground in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, providing food, water and other critical assistance to hungry families.

Oxfam America

800-77-OXFAM (800-776-9326). Outside the U.S.: 617-482-1211

Every day, 3,500 Somalis are fleeing their country for refuge in Ethiopia and Kenya. Oxfam is aiming to reach three million people with water, sanitation services and food.

Relief International


On the ground in Somalia since 2007, Relief International is expanding feeding centers and emergency health clinics to save thousands of hungry families from the threat of starvation.

Samaritan's Purse


Samaritan's Purse is working in Kenya, near the Somalia border, to provide food and other aid for thousands of vulnerable families affected by devastating drought.

Save the Children


Hundreds of thousands of Somali children are severely and acutely malnourished inside Somalia. Save the Children aims to reach half a million of the most vulnerable children and their families with vital help, including food aid, nutritional support, water and health care.

U.N. World Food Program


The World Food Program has declared a corporate emergency, elevating the crisis to the highest level of action and indicating grave concern about the possibility of widespread loss of life. The program is moving to airlift supplies and food to hungry populations.

UNICEF United States Fund

800-FOR-KIDS (800-367-5437)

UNICEF is on the ground in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethi­o­pia, delivering lifesaving nutritional support and other basic supplies to keep vulnerable children alive and prevent disease.

World Concern


World Concern is working on both sides of the Somalia/Kenya border to provide emergency food, water and supplies to the most vulnerable and underserved families affected by the famine.

World Vision


World Vision has launched an emergency response to the drought and food crisis, working to provide life-saving essentials to the most vulnerable children and families.

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