Jon Warren recently spent nearly a month in Africa, documenting the ongoing food crisis and highlighting our work in the region. Upon returning home, he put this post together of some of his most memorable images that convey the tragic stories of people left at risk of starvation from an unrelenting drought and food crisis in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
Famine is unfathomably horrific. I'm not sure how else to describe the despair a mother like Gaalo feels as she cradles a son, Khaleed, worried that he will die like two of her children already have. We don't want to hear about it; we don't want to look at pictures. But this drought is happening to real people. And the only reason I photograph is because I know some people have the heart to make a difference.
Home. A series of sticks stuck into the ground, with cloth scraps tied on. Shaped like my backpacking tent -- but not for weekend use in the mountains only. Whole families have to live like this.
The environment doesn't help. Gusting sand + blistering heat = misery.
"I have experienced a lot of hunger," says, Anab, 10, "not eating for a whole day. I haven’t been able to go to school. I lost all my energy. I can’t play." But what worries her most is how hunger affected her little sister. "When I saw my little sister crying from hunger, I started to cry myself."
Hadija, 28, already has to carry the burden of raising seven children during a time of famine. She and eldest daughter, Nurto, 10 (at right), are able to earn a little by hauling garbage away for families in nearby Burtinle city. But mostly she survives by begging.
Despair leads to desperate actions, like fighting when food finally shows up, even if it means getting bashed in the head.
Layla's son, Zam Zam, is critically malnourished. Layla says, "I don't sleep enough because I am so worried. I wake up in the night and give drink (breastfeeding) to the baby."
The sad truth is that so many are dying. Three-year-old Ibrahim Harett was too weak to survive the 10-day trek from Somalia. He's the third child buried this day in this little graveyard.
Zam Zam's name means "pure water." That's one of the ways World Vision is fighting the drought. Besides wells and catchment dams, World Vision is also trucking clean, pure water to 19 communities on the Somali border.
And weighing and measuring clinics are helping staff and parents identify which children need help immediately.
World Vision staff are also delivering food and checking up directly on sponsored children.
It was as if God Himself had painted this reminder on a doorway in Dadaab, Kenya: We do this because God is love!
All photos ©2011 Jon Warren/World Vision
See Jon’s last photo blogs: Photo journal: 24 hours in Somalia and Scenes from a Kenyan refugee camp
or text “FAMINE”‘ to”20222″ to give a $10 donation