Famine in East Africa: How to Help

While politics have dominated the news cycle in America, a famine has been declared in South Sudan. In fact, a food crisis is looming in East Africa. Famine is a word that can be a bit elusive – we read it and understand that people are dying of hunger. However, it’s far more complex than that. I won’t attempt to break it down too far for you here because The International Rescue Committee’s blog does a great job explaining famine in general, and the specific famine affecting South Sudan right now. A few highlights of the article are:


  • “Famine” is a technical term, and a famine can only be declared when certain criteria are met. Among them, 30% of a country’s children have to be severely malnutritioned.
  • Famine is not a common occurrence. When a famine is declared, that means people are already dying.
  • 3 more countries, in addition to South Sudan, are on the brink of famine. Those are Somalia, Nigeria, and Yemen.


Famine may seem like something that’s out of reach for us, as individuals, to do anything about. We are lucky that there are some great international organizations that have the infrastructure to deliver and distribute food, staff with years of expertise, and access to these countries and populations where help is needed most.  Any amount will help!


Consider donating to:  

The International Rescue Committee

Islamic Relief USA

World Food Programme

Action Aid

International Committee of the Red Cross

image via The Atlantic