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The Children's Famine in Somalia

Watch this powerful video set to Bob Marley & The Wailers' 1973 track, 'High Tide or Low Tide.'

Millions of people are struggling to survive a humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, where the worst drought in 60 years has produced famine conditions. In southern Somalia alone, international aid organizations and agencies reported in August that 300 children under age 5 were dying every day from starvation or disease and health complications aggravated by the lack of adequate food and water. These horrible conditions are being experienced in ever-expanding areas throughout the region, and they need our help.

Famine conditions in the Horn of Africa might be much more widespread today were it not for the work of USAID, which predicted this crisis a year ago and moved expeditiously to pre-position food and other supplies in the region. This year the United States has provided more than $500 million in humanitarian aid in the region. The message from those working in the relief effort is that the situation will likely get worse before improving.

AFT president Randi Weingarten is urging President Obama to marshal global support for the humanitarian aid needed to halt the advance of the apocalyptic "children's famine" spreading through Somalia and neighboring nations in the Horn of Africa.

Somalia schoolgirls

Girl students in  Dangorayo District school, Nugal Region, Somalia. Photo by Issa Mohamed Issa, UNESCO.

"We live in an era in which the global landscape is constantly shifting," Weingarten said in a letter to the president. "But the humanitarian spirit and generosity of the American people have not changed. With your leadership, we will once again be able to harness that spirit."

Now is the time for renewed U.S. resourcefulness and commitment to the relief effort. There should be no doubt that this effort is fundamental to our values as a nation and has the support of the American people, who care about those who suffer—particularly when they are children.

The AFT is mobilizing members to write their congressional representatives to urge them to increase, not cut, humanitarian aid for the Horn of Africa.