International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Drought and Famine in Africa: How to Help

A woman with her child fleeing famine in Somalia outside their makeshift shelter, Dadaab, Kenya.

Photo: Peter Biro/IRC

The International Rescue Committee is extremely grateful for the outpouring of support and interest from all of you wanting to help the survivors of the drought in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Here is some information about how you can best make a difference in the lives of people in East Africa who have been hit hardest by drought and famine:

I want to make an emergency gift to help the IRC rescue lives:

Please click here to support our urgent relief efforts >

  • $25 can pay for an intravenous fluid set that, for two days, treats dehydration and delivers needed antibiotics and other medicines to children who are too ill to consume food and medicine.
  • $25 can buy “safety and dignity kits” that the IRC is distributing to Somali refugee women.  They contain solar lights, whistles, soap, sanitary napkins, underwear and cloth for clothing– all contained in a bucket they can use to collect water.
  • $50 can buy vitamin-rich therapeutic food for a severely malnourished child for one month.

I want to volunteer:

We are very grateful for your generosity, but the IRC does not send volunteers to our overseas programs, even in emergencies.  There are many other ways to help including:

I want to donate disaster relief items:

Unfortunately, we cannot accept in-kind donations of disaster relief items from the general public.  These items often include offers of air travel, clothing, food items, etc.

Additional information on why the IRC and other non-governmental organizations adhere to these policies can be found in the "Volunteering" and "Donations-In-Kind" sections of the Center for International Disaster Information FAQ.  The FAQ also explains why cash donations are the most efficient way to provide assistance to those in need.

I want to learn more about relief efforts:

Go behind the scenes of the IRC’s lifesaving work in East Africa on our Voices from the Field blog and see our special Crisis Watch report for the latest updates from the drought zone.

Thank You!