Abdi Aden, a former farmer who lived in Sakow town before the drought forced him to flee, said he lost an 8-year-old son after eight days of trekking.
“He tried to cry before he died, but he could not. He was so weak. He died peacefully from hunger,” he said. “I buried him by myself in a shallow ditch so hyenas could not eat him.”
On her way to Dadaab, Abdullahi said she walked with friends for three days before she and her children lagged behind. She saw around 20 children dead or unconscious abandoned on the roadside.
“I saw two elderly people on the road,” she said. “They cried out, ‘Ma’am, give us a helping hand.’ They wanted to sweet-talk me, but I said to them ‘I can’t help’ and moved on.
“You will feel kind only when you have something,” she said. “I wanted to give the little water I had to my children.”
Trying to escape starvation and East Africa’s unforgiving drought, hundreds of Somali children have been left for dead on the long, dusty journey to the world’s largest refugee camp.
UNICEF on Thursday called the drought and refugee crisis “the most severe humanitarian emergency in the world.” The international Red Cross signaled “great alarm” this week at the nutritional state of Somali children.
The U.N. expects at least 10 million people will need food aid, and a U.S. aid official said he believes the situation in Ethiopia is even worse than the government acknowledges.
The Ethiopian government said that 4.5 million people need food aid there, 40 percent more than last year. Jason Frasier, mission director of USAID in Ethiopia, the U.S. government aid arm, suggested that Ethiopia might even be undercounting those who need help.
Aid agencies have appealed for more than $100 million in emergency funding while warning of dire consequences if help does not arrive.
You can donate to the Red Cross here.
Some perspective on the present (and likely future) global politics of food, and a picture: