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Helping Somalia: The fight against famine

July 22, 2011 | 11:03 am

Two-year-old in Somalia

Protesters in Greece have taken to the walls to spread their message, with such graffiti as "Life -- not just survival." In Somalia, where the U.N. declared a state of famine, the message is even grimmer. For the people there, it's just survival.

To see these photos of malnourished children, many of whom have lost parents and siblings to starvation, it's impossible not to feel. And to read U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon's plea in Friday's Op-Ed pages, it seems impossible not to want to help the more than 11 million people in desperate need. An excerpt:

Graphic - Famine in Somalia This is a wake-up call we cannot ignore. Every day I hear the harrowing reports from our U.N. teams on the ground. Somali refugees, their cattle and goats dead from thirst, walking for weeks to find help in Kenya and Ethiopia. Children who arrive alone, terrified and malnourished, their parents dead, in a foreign land. […]

Even for those who reach the camps, there is often no hope. Many are simply too weak after long journeys across the arid land and die before they can be nursed back to strength. For people who need medical attention, there are often no medicines. Imagine the pain of those doctors, who must watch their patients perish for lack of resources. […]

That is why I reach out today: to focus global attention on this crisis, to sound the alarm and to call on the world's people to help Somalia in this moment of greatest need. To save the lives of the people at risk — the vast majority of them women and children — we need about $1.6 billion in aid. So far, international donors have given only half that amount. To turn the tide, to offer hope in the name of our common humanity, we must mobilize worldwide.

Care to donate? Here's a list of organizations.

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Somalis dying in world's worst famine in 20 years

-- Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: A malnourished child from southern Somalia is treated at a hospital in Mogadishu, the capital. Credit: Farah Abdi Warsameh / Associated Press

Graphic: Lorena Iniguez Elebee / Los Angeles Times

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