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Famine in Somalia: How to help

More than 11 million people in the Horn of Africa require food assistance due to the drought, the United Nations says. Here's how you can help.
/ Source: NBC News and

More than 11 million people in the Horn of Africa require food assistance due to the region's worst drought in half a century, the United Nations says.

The UN says that famine exists in two regions of southern Somalia, southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle. Across the country, nearly half of the Somali population — 3.7 million people — are now in crisis, of whom an estimated 2.8 million people are in the south.

But parts of Kenya and Ethiopia are also in crisis.

Anny Curry will be reporting from the region. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook for her updates.

Want to help? Here are some key organizations that are providing aid in the region.

  • CARE
    The organization says it is providing food, water and primary education in the Dadaab refugee camps. Call 1-800-521-2273 or donate online.
  • Mercy Corps
    The global humanitarian agency is responding to the drought in the Horn of Africa with emergency operations in northeastern Kenya, and plans to build on existing work in hard-hit Ethiopia and Somalia. We will focus our efforts on the most vulnerable people in villages and towns.

    Mercy Corps is currently helping 150,000 people through programs like emergency food distributions, clean water delivery and cash-for-work activities in this area.

    Want to help? Click here to donate.

  • UNICEF, the UN's children's organization, and its partners need more money to aid children in the Horn of Africa in the coming months. Immediate measures include child immunization campaigns and water and sanitation services to ward off disease. feed a child for 10 days or provide 321 sachets of nutrient powder to boost infant survival and development, the aid group says.

  • International Medical Corps teams have been delivering health care services to people in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya since 1991 and are working rapidly to provide humanitarian relief to victims of drought and famine in the region. Donate

  • AmeriCares said it is preparing to send medical aid to areas of East Africa experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades. The organization has also established an Africa Disaster Relief Fund to help direct critical resources to the region. Donate .

  • The organization said it's providing support for displaced and at-risk populations, treating acute malnutrition, and ensuring emergency access to clean water, improved sanitation, and hygiene programs for thousands of children and adults. Donate or call 877-777-1420.

  • ActionAid said it has already reached more than 200,000 people with emergency food supplies, water and livelihood support. In the next few months, the organization aims to reach an additional 120,000 people with much-need food and water. Donate .

  • According to the organization, the aid it's providing includes emergency water trucking, distribution of shelter materials, repair and construction of boreholes, distribution of food rations, and in Kenya special rations to 300 pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Donate .

  • The organization says it is working in the Dadaab refugee camp on the Somalia-Kenya border and with local partners inside Somalia to support lasting peace efforts. Donate
  • The organization says it will be partnering with other organizations to ensure that aid is distributed to those who are most in need. Over the long term, AJWS will be working with its partners to address the underlying systemic causes of this crisis. Donate .

  • The organization says it's working closely to provide life-saving relief to those in need, providing food aid and non-food items such as bedding, utensils and soap to more than 400 families. Donate .

  • AMURT says it is performing assessments in Northern Kenya to better serve the affected communities. Call 301-738-7122 for donations.

  • The organization says it's working with its members in Ethiopia and Kenya to formulate an adequate drought response. Donate .
  • CRS says it is increasing its food distributionsfrom 400,000 people to 1 million people in Ethiopia. The organization also says it has an assessment team in the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya and is preparing 9,500 kits with plastic sheeting & jerry cans for immediate distribution. Call 1-800-736-3467 or donate .
  • CHF says it is responding to the crisis in the Horn of Africa through its country offices in Ethiopia and Kenya by providing continued emergency water support and other forms of aid. Donate .
  • ChildFund says it is targeting its drought-relief efforts on children five and younger and their mothers, who are most at risk for nutritional deficiencies. The organization has partnerships with the World Food Programme and UNICEF. Donate .
  • The organization says it is providing $7 million in emergency food supplies, water and fodder for livestock in five high-risk locations in Kenya and in southern Ethiopia. Donate .
  • CWS says it is working on a response centered on the Mwingi and Kibwezi areas of Kenya by providing emergency food relief, water tankering and long-term disaster risk reduction programs. Donate .
  • Concern says it is reaching 400,000 in the affected regions with clean water, food and nutritional care. In Somalia, the organization says it's reaching more than 100,000 people. Donate .
  • From Uganda to Southern Somalia, through Kenya, ACTED says its teams are operating every day to ensure access to potable water and sanitation in order to improve the vulnerable populations’ food security. Donate .
  • HelpAge says it's distributing food, water and healthcare to older people and their families, as well as water, animal feed and veterinary care for livestock. Donate .
  • The organization says it has planned sending emergency aid, which includes providing basic sanitation and providing camps for internally displaced persons. Donate .
  • Through its emergency healthcare partners, IOCC says it's putting nursing and public healthcare specialists into action to aid victims of the massive humanitarian crisis. The organization is also delivering financial assistance to provide critically needed healthcare support for millions of people. Donate .
  • IRD says its staff is working to design an emergency response focused on supplemental feedings. Donate .
  • The organization says it has launched a humanitarian assistance program to aid the civilian population affected by famine. Donate .
  • The organization says it is responding by providing funds to buy emergency food and it has also commissioned the digging of water wells. Donate .
  • LWR says it has committed an initial $500,000 to its partners operating in the Dadaab camps to assist new arrivals. Donate .
  • Merlin says it is providing nutrition and health services to those affected. Donate .
  • UNHCR is already scaling up work on the ground, providing medical care and food. Donate
    $7: provides ready-to-use therapeutic food for a malnourished refugee child
    $50: therapeutic feeding kits – each one helps feed five children

    $100: survival kits – each has a blanket, mattress, kitchen set, stove and soap

    $450: all-weather tent to shelter a refugee family

    $5,500: nutrition survey kit, includes weighing scales (x5), height measuring board, hammock machine and accessories (micro-cuvettes, lancet, etc.), and mid upper arm circumference tape.
  • The Global Enrichment Foundation, Hope for the Nations, and The African Future say they delivered the first convoy of emergency food aid on Aug. 4, 2011 in Dhoobley, Somalia, feeding 14,000. The food baskets distributed fed a family of five for two weeks. A second convoy is being organized for late August. Donate .
  • The organization says it sent a team that includes relief and nutrition specialists to northeast Kenya to lead the emergency response. SP has also set up a base of operations in Garissa, Kenya, along the Kenya/Somalia border, and have begun distributing tons of maize, beans, and cooking oil. Donate .

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