Eric P. Schwartz
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Senator Bill Frist, and Special Assistant to the President Gayle Smith
Link to CNN's Interview with Anderson Cooper:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2011
Jenny Dyer (615) 818-5579
Frist, Biden to Visit East Africa Refugee Camp
Senator Bill Frist, MD and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden will travel to the Horn of Africa to witness the severe famine affecting almost 12 million people in the region.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released yesterday that the delegation led by Biden would be traveling to Kenya this weekend on a fact-finding mission.
Over 2.3 million children are estimated to be suffering from malnutrition in the Horn of Africa. If these children and others do not receive food supplies, clean water, and health care in the coming weeks, mortality rates will soar.
Doctor-Senator Frist is especially interested in the medical needs of the victims in the refugee camps: “We know these refugees, who have traveled so many miles from their homes, desperately need food, water, shelter, and safety. But they also need medical attention. Children especially need access to vaccinations, Vitamin A, deworming tablets, and oral rehydration to fight sickness and disease.”
Measles, polio, malaria, and diarrhea are constant threats to the lives of the most vulnerable in these camps.
Frist will be observing the distribution of care at a camp and hearing the stories of the refugees so that he can promote awareness and advocacy on behalf of these people living on the brink of death.
Aid agencies currently estimate that over a $1 billion shortfall is needed immediately to stop the spread of the famine and to begin to save lives in this critical period.
by Jenny Eaton Dyer, Ph.D.
The numbers are staggering. Over 12 million people are reported to be in dire need of food and clean water. And more continue to trickle in daily to the refugee camps. Somalia has seen famines before, but this is said to be the worst. Perhaps the greatest crisis of the decade.
Today, Mohammad Ibrahim writes about the emergency in the NYT, "Somalis Waste Away as Insurgents Block Escape from Famine."
It is an extremely complex and difficult situation. Aid agencies are having trouble getting into and providing care for the most vunerable. Governmental funding is especially and desperately needed to avert the loss of millions of lives.
How can you help? For starters, support Save the Children.
East Africa Drought and Food Crisis: A dollar a day for 100 days can help us keep a child alive. Give online at www.savethechildren.org/food-crisis-6 or text "SURVIVE" to 20222 to donate $10 (Standard message rates apply)
Recommended Reading: "Global Food Crisis Takes Heavy Toll in East Africa," by Samuel Loewenberg, in The Lancet.