Famine in East Africa

What are we to do in response to little Abdifatah?

Eleven-month-old Abdifatah Hassan, suffering from severe malnutrition, is cared for at a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders at a camp housing Somali refugees in Dadaab, Kenya. (from the L.A. Times by Roberto Schmidt / AFP/Getty Images / July 4, 2011)

Abdifatah is a victim of the famine in the Horn of Africa. They’re calling it the worst drought in 60 years.

My wife teaches in a school full of Somali children, many of them named Abdifatah (it’s a fairly common name, like John in the U.S.). Most, if not all, of her kids have family back in Somalia.

While famine has been officially declared in parts of Somalia, the crisis extends into Ethiopia and Kenya. Much of Southern Ethiopia, where my son Milo was born, is in a state of crisis or emergency. Families are starving.

I don’t know what to do in response to all this. You can donate money to any of several organizations on the ground (Save the Children, Doctors without Borders, Oxfam, UNICEF, World Vision, etc.).

But that feels so insignificant as I turn back to my own worries, which all seem insane after looking into Abdifatah’s vacant eyes.

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