ONEMoms At the White House with Dr. Jill Biden

ONEMoms At the White House with Dr. Jill Biden

Another amazing opportunity to join my ONEmoms comrades came up this week- a meeting with Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden, to hear about her experiences in the Horn of Africa this summer. Dr. Biden was so moved by news reports of the devastation being wrought by the famine that she connected with a policy trip leaving for Somalia the VERY NEXT DAY. She travelled with Gayle Smith, of the National Security Council, and Dr. Rajiv Singh, Administrator for US AID, both of whom joined us in the West Wing of the White House.

The people and the stunning need of so many impacted Dr. Biden right where it hits any mom who sees children suffering- in the heart. She described her complete empathy for the mothers who travelled many miles with babies in tow to the refugee camps- “There are no lengths a mother will not go to to protect her child,” she said, and I so agree.

But there are lengths so many of us will never need to go to. Will never face, or likely even begin to be able to comprehend. The enormity of the 29,000 or more children who have perished in the famine in the last THREE MONTHS is so breathtakingly horrific that it seems impossible, like it must be a miscalculation.

And it is, but it isn’t of sums. It’s of famine as a natural disaster, a tsunami of sorts that must crest before breaking. But the famine is created by a combination of drought, political circumstances, and a tenuous food security situation at the best of times- when one element is unstable in an area so riding the edge of subsistence, the impact is borne by the citizenry’s most vulnerable.

In September, The United Nations declared that Somalia’s famine has spread to a sixth region and warned that at least 750,000 people are at risk of dying in the next four months if aid efforts are not stepped up. U.N. officials also say most who have died are children.

Here are some resources of organizations that are trying to deliver much needed food and drought relief directly to affected areas:

  • 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.

    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 or by calling 1-800-HELPNOW.

  • Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions
    Executive 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 Programme
    The 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 Vision
    World 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 Committee
    In 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 International
    Oxfam 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.


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Comments (1)

  1. Sue Robinson Sunday - 30 / 10 / 2011 Reply
    So cool! Congrats!

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