The extreme famine gripping East Africa continue to take its toll - with the United Nations estimating some 29,000 children have already perished in Somalia; with another 640,000 malnourished.
Overall, 12.4 million people are being affected by what's being called the worst drought in over 60 years. Relief organizations are doing their best to cope with the unfolding humanitarian crisis, but new funding is desperately needed to increase the scale of support.
Last month, over 150 entertainers, sports and fashion icons, and other notables joined forces through social media to raise awareness of the disaster. The "I'm Gonna Be Your Friend" campaign, spearheaded by the nonprofit Save the Children, is but one initiative hoping to make a difference.
World Vision, one of the largest NGOs on the ground in the region, just cranked out a PSA with actor Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness. The pair passionately appeal for donations, saying that they've seen first-hand the work done by the organization with helping those in need.
“World Vision is supporting long-term programs such as drought-tolerant crops, help for herders’ animals, and assistance to families to diversify their income source so that drought doesn’t leave them without an income," said Jackman. And Furness added: “Children are the most vulnerable in times of crisis like this and in the worst hit areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia nearly half a million young people are at risk of malnutrition. Hugh and I have been to Ethiopia, and we’ve seen first-hand the World Vision staff who work on the ground. They’re at the crisis points now providing lifesaving food and water.”
Jackman, 42, has been an ambassador for World Vision since 2008. His trip to Ethiopia in 2009 was captured in the Australian documentary "Seeds of Hope".
The organization is encouraging people to text "FAMINE" to "20222" to donate $10, as well as visit their FamineNoMore.org campaign site for more information. The overarching goal is $100 million globally to fund its relief response in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, targeting 2.5 million of the most affected, particularly children.
Check out Hugh and Deborra's video below.