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Drought Grips Horn of Africa

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Children in Kenya, Ethiopia Need Your Help

Drought Grips Horn of Africa

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Crisis in Africa Slideshow Intro  

The rains have failed the people of the Horn of Africa, and their children are dying.

The worst drought in 60 years has put more than 13 million people in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia at risk, according to the U.N. — and the youngest suffer the most.

Exhausted, hungry families carry their starving children miles through the parched landscape in search of water and food. Sometimes a child dies in a mother’s arms — of malnutrition, of waterborne illness, of measles … the final diagnosis doesn’t matter. It is because the rains failed.

Sometimes the mother’s cry is too weak for anyone to hear.

It’s the sad end of a story that begins with crops having dried up. With no food to eat or sell, families then sell their meager belongings. And when those are gone — with nothing else to stay for — they sell the corrugated metal roofs off their houses.


It’s about survival now.

—ChildFund President and CEO
Anne Lynam Goddard

And then they walk in search of food and water.

“It’s about survival now,” says ChildFund President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard.

That’s why ChildFund needs your help — quickly. ChildFund is on the ground working directly with our partners to provide food and water to save the lives of the children most affected and their families.

“The under-5 children and lactating mothers are the worst affected, and the little available food is running out fast!” says David Kang’ethe, ChildFund’s sponsor relations and communications director for Kenya, who has been in Turkana meeting with families and seeing their struggle firsthand.

map of drought regions of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda
ChildFund’s drought response in Kenya and Ethiopia is focused in areas where we already have an established presence, highlighted in yellow.

ChildFund’s efforts are trained squarely on those groups, says Victor Koyi, national director of ChildFund Kenya, “because of the vulnerability of this age group and the lifelong implications of inadequate food intake at this stage.”

Food insecurity has reached crisis levels in Kenya’s north and northeastern districts, with no likelihood of the situation improving until late 2012. At the same time, late rains and flooding have washed out roads, interrupting food supplies and creating conditions ripe for disease. Dengue fever is spreading fast in northeastern Kenya, with 5,000 people affected.

In Ethiopia, the prolonged La Niña conditions have disrupted two consecutive rainy seasons, causing rapidly deteriorating food security in the drought-affected lowlands of south and southeastern Ethiopia, and in parts of the central and southern highlands. Late rains have now come in some areas, but wet conditions are creating disease risks for the malnourished. Cases of acute watery diarrhea continue to be reported in four districts, including the Oromia region, which has the most cases of severe acute malnutrition among children.

Flooding following the dry season is also creating a complex set of problems in Uganda. More than 10,000 gardens have been destroyed. Crops are being harvested prematurely, and farmers are having difficulty drying harvested crops and getting them to market. As a result, most households could exhaust food stocks in two months. In addition, submerged latrines are contaminating water sources and increasing the risk of waterborne disease. Flooding has also created a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and thus the potential for a malaria outbreak is high.

In addition to providing food, water and health care support, including hygiene and sanitation education, ChildFund is also working to keep families and children in their communities. “We don’t want these vulnerable children and their families to have to move away,” says Goddard. “We know how detrimental that is to their development.”

ChildFund is helping from many angles — but the greatest challenge of all is funding these efforts. We must not fail the children of the Horn of Africa. Make a difference now and help ChildFund help them.

> Your $155 donation will provide 150 packets of nutritional supplements.

> Your $62 donation will provide 100 doses of malaria drugs.

> Your $50 donation will provide ten 500ml bottles of iodine to disinfect wounds.

> Your $26 donation will provide fruit and vegetables to a family for a week.

DON'T FORGET: Your donations could be doubled and do twice as much good for children in our care if your employer is one of the thousands of companies that offer a matching gift program.