Nightly News | August 01, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor (Washington, DC): Now to the crisis we have been covering going on in East Africa , hunger and suffering so severe relief workers are having to make agonizing daily choices about which children can realistically be saved. Today from the UN a dire new warning, the famine is spreading, situation's getting worse. And without a lot more help, tens of thousands more will die. This is a story that, as we keep saying, has been difficult to watch. Tonight NBC 's Kate Snow , the newest member of our team on the ground there, is in Dadaab , Kenya , where the camps are being flooded with refugees. Kate , good evening.
KATE SNOW reporting: Good evening to you, Brian . And that's right, if the UN predictions are correct, this is just the beginning. The number of people in desperate need of food could continue to increase over the next three, four months from now. And many of those refugees will end up here in Kenya . They're fleeing famine. They're fleeing fighting. And today we got an up-front look at what they face now. There are so many malnourished kids coming into the ICU here, they had to triple the number of beds. How old is your baby?
Unidentified Woman #1:
Translator: Two years.
SNOW: Two years. She looks so frail, but at least little Fatima is able to sip milk again. Abdia Ada 's baby weighs in at just 4.2 kilos, nine pounds, the size of a newborn. She's seven months old. Every morning after dawn, the newcomers line up.
SNOW: Single men on the left; families grouped by size, unaccompanied children on the right. It can take a week or two, three, even four weeks to get here by foot. And you can see in everyone's faces, they've waited long enough. Ibrahim Gele and his wife, Ablah , and two kids walked nearly 300 miles. When is the last time that she had a proper meal, a big meal?
SNOW: Two months. So they wait to be fingerprinted, given wristbands in exchange for the most basic food supplies. The Ali clan just picked up their rations and they're headed for home, a half-hour walk to the outskirts of the camp in the bush. Even though they're hungry on this first day of Ramadan , they'll keep the tradition of fasting until sundown. Osman Ali is a proud man who used to own livestock in Dinsoor , Somalia . And you had 60 cattle, 30 goats when you were a farmer. All of them died in the drought? The herds starved to death. Over the 20 day and night journey here, Ali lost a nine-year-old nephew, too. And now a tent made from branches covered in plastic is home for Osman Ali , his wife and six children. You have nowhere else to go, so you fit you and your wife and six kids here?
Mr. OSMAN ALI: We don't have money.
SNOW: You have no money.
Mr. ALI: Yeah.
SNOW: I know. I know. I asked Ali if he will ever return to Somalia . He said never. And, Brian , that's part of the concern on behalf of the international community and particularly the Kenyan government, that so many Somalis may come here, make their new home here, need assistance and never leave. Brian :
WILLIAMS: Oh, a terrible situation. Kate , we'll see you back here tomorrow night on the broadcast and look for your reporting tomorrow morning on "Today." And a reminder for our viewers who want to help the victims of this famine in East Africa , we have a growing list of charities on our Web site , that's nightly.msnbc.com.