First Person

Kristin Davis visits drought-hit East Africa

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Kristin Davis meets Madina Farah Yusuf at Dadaab in Kenya.
Kristin Davis meets Madina Farah Yusuf at Dadaab in Kenya.

As conflict and drought continue to ravage Somalia, the world’s largest refugee camp keeps growing—by more than 1,000 people a day. Dadaab, in Kenya, is teeming with 380,000 people, four times the number the camp was designed for.

And more are on their way.

East Africa—particularly the triangle between south and central Somalia, northern Kenya, and southern Ethiopia—is now in the grip of a serious drought and food crisis that is affecting more than 10 million people.

Oxfam Ambassador Kristin Davis, star of Sex and the City, just visited Dadaab to help draw the world’s attention to the drought and what countless refugee families are enduring.  One of the women she met there was Madina Farah Yusuf, who walked for 10 days with her seven children to reach the camp. On the way, Yusuf came across four other children whose parents had died of starvation. She took them in and guided them to Dadaab, where they are all now taking shelter together under a tree.

“We left Somalia in fear for our lives: There was so much hunger and war,” Yusuf told Davis, before recounting her harrowing journey to Dadaab and the hardships that continue. “Bandits robbed us of our food and clothes on the way. It gets very cold at night, and the children cry. We only have one blanket. It is also unprotected out in the open. I worry that hyenas will attack the children.”

At the camp, basics are in short supply.

“We drank some tea this morning,” Yusuf continued. “But we have very little food. The rations are not enough for everyone to eat every day.”

An Oxfam pump a few hundred feet away is providing her family with water, but many people still need shelter and toilets.

Oxfam is responding to the drought and food crisis with water, sanitation services, and food. Our goal is to reach 3 million people. Your support can help us get there. Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Google+