There is no denying the severity of the crisis in East Africa right now. We’ve read the headlines and seen horrifying photos of starving children. The situation is getting worse every day. Two days ago, the United Nations declared a famine in three more areas of Somalia. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) estimates that nearly 30,000 children under the age of five have died because of the crisis. By September, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) predicts that the whole of Somalia and parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda will be under famine conditions.
We cannot stand idly by when thousands of children are starving to death. Thanks to your support, AJWS has already begun responding to the crisis. We are partnering with a humanitarian aid organization that is working on the frontlines of the crisis, providing emergency medical services and distributing food to refugees in Dadaab Refugee Camp in north eastern Kenya. Our partners are also working with communities in drought-affected areas to distribute water supplies, and build sanitation facilities to stop the spread of deadly diseases like cholera.
As our response progresses, we will concentrate on funding locally-based organizations that are providing relief to under-served communities in Kenya—communities that have been overlooked by large-scale, international humanitarian aid. Gaps in the relief efforts have begun to emerge and there has been a significant increase in the incidence of sexual and gender-based violence around the refugee camps.
We hope to give emergency grants to three more organizations next week, but can only do so with your continued support. To stay up to date on AJWS’s response to the famine and to support our relief efforts, please visit our East Africa famine relief webpage.