Right now, 12 million people in East Africa are at risk of starvation and 150,000 children under five are at imminent risk of dying.
The situation has been declared a famine by the United Nations, making it the first in two decades.
Dr. Hernando Garzón, who lives in Davis and works as an emergency room doctor at Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento, boarded a plane Tuesday bound for the region, where he will help implement a program to treat those suffering in Somalia, Kenya and possibly Ethiopia.
Garzón spoke to me during his layover in Minneapolis, saying that the African famine is the product of a complex situation involving not only a severe drought, but governments and rebels that hinder the development of an economy capable of providing food.
Garzón says that although the situation has not received as much attention as the earthquakes in Haiti or Japan or Hurricaine Katrina, it is a much larger disaster by scale.
“This event has been brewing for six months,” he said. “But since it’s a slow-onset kind of event, it doesn’t get the same kind of attention.”
He says that if you find it in your heart, you can donate to Relief International just as you would for any other disaster. Relief International is the organization with which Garzón works.
Davis Patch will feature an in-depth Q&A with Dr. Garzón Wednesday morning, so check back.