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Horn of Africa famine: How to help

Somalia, already one of the world's poorest countries, is in midst of an epic humanitarian catastrophe, as a third of its popultion - 3.7 million people - face starvation. Throughout the Horn of Africa, in countries like Ethiopia and Kenya, as many as 11 million people are currently at risk of severe malnutrition or starvation as the region faces the worst drought conditions in 60 years.

The Horn of Africa region is now full of refugee camps, some with occupants numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Every day, countless families arrive half-dead out of the desert seeking help.

Many aid agencies say they have the capacity to address some of the worst results of the crisis, but they lack the funding to do so. Fortunately, there are many ways to help. Below is a list of some of the aid organizations with relief operations in the Horn of Africa, along with links to their donation pages.

UNICEF is among the most active charitable organizations supporting children in Somalia. They say as many 640,000 children are acutely malnourished in southern Somalia alone. Their programs support 16 stabilization centers, 201 outpatient therapeutic programs, and 325 supplementary feeding programs. To donate money to UNICEF, visit here. To learn how you can donate your time, visit here.

The U.N.'s World Food Programme is the world's largest humanitarian organization fighting hunger, and is funded entirely through donations. Their work in the Horn of Africa is extensive and crucial. To find out how to donate to the WFP, visit here.

The United States Association for UNHCR (USA for UNHCR) supports the UN Refugee Agency's humanitarian work to protect and assist refugees around the world. Donations toward shelter, protection and other life-saving essentials for refugees can be made here.

Save the Children is one of the world's leading independent nonprofit organizations. It has made an urgent call to donors to provide life-saving help to thousands of families in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. "Eighty percent of the refugees are children and the majority of the remainder are women," says Duncan Harvey, Save the Children's Deputy Country Director in Ethiopia. To find a list of the many ways to help Save the Children with their work in East Africa, visit here.

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. To support their work helping refugees in the famine, visit here.

Doctors without Borders, founded in 1971, provides independent, impartial medical assistance to those most in need in crisis zones throughout the world. They have been working actively with Somali refugees in northern Kenya since 2009. To find out about the many ways to support their medical mission, visit here.

CARE is a leading humanitarian organization that places special focus on working alongside poor women because, they say, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Their immediate efforts for Somalia refugees in Kenya include safe water, sanitation, and emergency aid to newly arrived refugees. Individuals, especially children, who are suffering from malnutrition and medical problems are referred to supplementary and therapeutic feeding programs and stabilization units. Families are provided with emergency rations while awaiting access to general food distributions. To donate to CARE's East Africa program, visit here.

Mercy Corps is a global aid agency that works for long periods of time in areas that have experienced some kind of shock. They currently work with Somali refugees in Kenya, and plan on expanding their mission to alleviate the famine into Somalia and Ethiopia. To find out how to donate, visit here.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has operations in Kenya and parts of Somalia helping refugees. To donate to the Red Cross, visit here.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. They are currently undertaking famine relief operations in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. To donate to their effort, visit here.

American Jewish World Service is an international development organization that has a long-standing presence in East Africa and is working with humanitarian organizations already on the ground to provide critical aid to refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities, including food, water and sanitation, medical support and personal safety. To find out how to donate to AJWS' effort in the region, visit their homepage here.

Islamic Relief USA is a legally separate and independent member of a global family of collaborating relief organizations that was awarded its sixth consecutive four-star rating by Charity Navigator in 2009. They already had relief projects in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia prior to the current crisis. To find out about volunteering with or donating to Islamic Relief USA, visit here.