When my son was born he weighed a little under 8lb, about average for a newborn in the UK. Umi, pictured above, is 3 months old and weighs a little over 3lb, he was born in Kenya in the middle of the worst drought in a generation. His mother’s livestock died from malnutrition and, had she not made it to one of Save the Children’s feeding programmes chances are she and her children would have met the same fate.
The people who are suffering now are some of the poorest on the planet. Subsistence farmers who, when their crops or livestock fail, have nothing to fall back on. The BBC interviewed a farmer from northern Kenya, who walked his 200 to Ethiopia in the hope conditions would be better, they were not and now he is left with nothing. With nothing to sell families have no hope of affording food for their children, who quickly deteriorate in the arid conditions. Worst affected are newborns like Umi – without food and water his mother can no longer breastfeed. Despite appearances Umi is one of the lucky ones, thousands more like him have already died and without more help tens of thousands more will follow.
I was in Kenya in February, helping to organise the Red Nose Desert Trek for Comic Relief, our route went through some of the areas that are now worst affected, it was incredibly tough for people living there then, now it is literally unbearable.
Famines such as these ones occur for a myriad of reasons, failing rain is just the start of it; poor governance, conflict, zero infrastructure, lack of education, all play a part and we there is no doubt the world can do more to change this. But right now, we are talking about an emergency – when your neighbours house is on fire you don’t quibble about the cause, you get on and help them put it out. Right now Africa is on fire.
The good news is that you can help. Organisations like Save the Children are doing some incredible work, setting up feeding programmes, offering medical assistance and distributing food and water, but they need your help. Just £25 can buy 10 days of treatment for 5 malnourished children – your money can literally save lives.
So how do you do it I hear you ask? Simple, just click here and give what you can.
When you have done that, send the link to a friend and get them to do the same.
Thank you. x