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We understand that a famine affecting more than 12 million people isn't something that can end quickly. But what we can't understand is why the response to the situation in the Horn of Africa hasn't garnered more attention or why the organizations providing emergency relief haven't received more donations.

According to some reports, less than half the food, aid and money needed for Somalia and surrounding nations who are absorbing refugees fleeing drought, violence and famine, has been donated. That means children are dying, and parents are being forced to choose which of their children receive water and meager rations of food.

The Associated Press interviewed one mother, Wardo Mohamud Yusuf, forced to leave her 4-year-old son "to his God on the road."

Parents fleeing the devastating famine on foot — sometimes with as many as seven children in tow — are having to make unimaginably cruel choices: Which children have the best chance to survive when food and water run low? Who should be left behind?

"I have never faced such a dilemma in my life," Yusuf told The Associated Press.  "Now I'm reliving the pain of abandoning my child. I wake up at night to think about him. I feel terrified whenever I see a son of his age."

No one should have to make this kind of choice. There are ways to help. If you can do anything, please do.


Annie Bergman

Annie Bergman is a Global Communications Manager and helps plan, assign and develop content for the nonprofit’s website, magazine and blog. Bergman has interviewed survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, beekeepers in Honduras, women’s groups in India and war widows in Kosovo, among many others in her six years at Heifer.