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Famine in the Horn of Africa: How to help

/ Source: NBC News and msnbc.com

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.

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
    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.

    Text FOOD to UNICEF (864233) to donate $10, enough to feed a child for 10 days or provide 321 sachets of nutrient powder to boost infant survival and development, the aid group says.

  • International Committee of the Red Cross
    Red Cross has launched the East Africa Drought Appeal 2011 to provide emergency relief, including food, water and health assistance.

    Make donations online at www.redcross.org.au or by calling 1-800-HELPNOW.

  • Edesia Global Nutrition SolutionsExecutive Director Navyn Salem says, “You can very simply save a child’s life or change the course of a family’s life. It makes everything seem worthwhile and absolutely possible.” The organization has a special focus on the crisis in Somalia and is using Plumpy'nut® to "make a lasting impact and save lives." Make donations online.

  • Doctors Without Borders
    In Dadaab, Kenya, Doctors Without Borders says it is treating more than 2,400 children in its ambulatory therapeutic feeding program and 130 children in its inpatient therapeutic feeding center. An additional 5,047 children with moderate acute malnutrition are enrolled in a supplementary feeding program. There are now around 10,000 people in the organization's feeding program in the Dadaab camp.

    Donate here or by calling 1-888-392-0392.

  • Save the Children
    Save the Children has launched an effort in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia to feed underweight children, provide medical treatment and get clean water to remote communities. Click here for ways to give.

  • The World Food ProgrammeThe World Food Programme said it is reaching 1.5 million people in Somalia now, and is scaling up to reach 2.2 million more in the previously inaccessible south of the country. It says airlifts to Mogadishu will start within a few days to bring in special nutritious foods for malnourished children.

    Donate $10 by texting the word AID to 27722 or make a donation online

  • World VisionWorld Vision says it has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for years and will continue to provide food, clean water, agricultural support, health care and other vital assistance to children and families. Donate online.

  • The International Rescue CommitteeIn drought-wracked central Somalia, the International Rescue Committee is giving cash and other assistance to households whose livestock, pastures and farmland have been destroyed. In Kenya's refugee camps, the organization says, it is providing medical screenings and referrals for new arrivals at reception centers where they also receive food and basic supplies. Donate online.

  • Oxfam InternationalOxfam said it is responding to the crisis by providing water, sanitation services, food and cash. The aim is to reach at least 3 million people, including 700,000 in Ethiopia, 1.3 million in Kenya, and 500,000 in Somalia. Donate online.

  • International Medical Corps
    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 online.

  • AmeriCares
    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 online.

  • Action Against HungerThe 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 online or call 877-777-1420.

  • ActionAidActionAid 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 online.

  • Adventist Development and Relief Agency
    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 online.

  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)UNHCR is already scaling up work on the ground, providing medical care and food. Donate online.
    $7: provides ready-to-use therapeutic food for a malnourished refugee child

    $50: therapeutic feeding kits – each one helps feed five children