The Humanitarian Crisis in Africa: How You Can Help

Dr. Jill Biden and the US officials who connected her on a trip to a refugee center in Kenya want the American people to appreciate how severe the crisis caused by a combination of drought, famine and war has become, particularly on the most vulnerable population, the children of Somalia.

“It touched my heart,” said Dr. Biden about reading the news and seeing the footage of the spreading humanitarian crisis, “as a mother, I watched these children … saw them starving and thought, we have to do something.” Earlier this week, she traveled to the Dadaab refugee complex in Eastern Kenya, where about 420,000 people who have fled war-torn Somalia in search of food, water and shelter, are currently living in a tented city at first built to accommodate 90,000.

Former U.S. Senator Bill Frist, another member of the designation, says more must be done to help famine victims. "A lot of people don't understand, especially in this environment of what's happening in terms of the economy here and at home, that this is the most sharp food security emergency anywhere in the world now and in recent years," he said.

"The crisis is growing fast, and we saw that firsthand on the ground, talking to personage families as they were coming into refugee camps who factually had walked for 15 and 16 days - a mom with her four children; a husband, a father who is absent who is still in Somalia. They don't know whether or not he's alive," Frist said of the situation, which has resulted in the deaths of 29,000 children under the age of five in the past three months alone.

Contributions made by the U.S government and the international community are helping to relieve the suffering - but the famine is spreading and without life-saving assistance, hundreds of thousands of people – most of them children – could die from hunger and disease in the coming months. There is a role for all persons to take action and save lives.