(Washington, D.C. 7/8/11) Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), a relief and development organization based in the D.C. metropolitan area, announced the launch of its East Africa Crisis Appeal.  In recent weeks drought in the Horn of Africa has affected a number of countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, and Djibouti.  The serious decline in crop production increased food prices in many countries, and in a country like Somalia already ravaged by a prolonged civil war, caused the mass exodus of the civilian population.  Since the start of the year, 54,000 Somalis have crossed into Ethiopia according to the United Nations; with more than 1,700 arriving daily in Ethiopia, and 1,400 in Kenya.  Malnutrition rates are alarmingly high with at least 50 percent of Somali children either moderately or severely malnourished.

“The East Africa drought has been creeping in unnoticed.  Mothers are losing children and families are seeing their members slowly die or leaving them behind in search of food.  With low crop yields, livestock perishing and no rainfall expected in the near future, we fear the suffering may reach a catastrophic level if no action is taken now,” said Adnan Ansari, IRUSA’s VP of Programs.

According to the United Nations, approximately 10 million people now face serious food shortages because of the prolonged drought.  Refugee camps are filled to capacity and local aid agencies are appealing for assistance.  Islamic Relief USA’s East Africa Crisis Appeal follows visits conducted by staff members to Mandera, Wajir and Dadaab Refugee Camps in Kenya.

Islamic Relief USA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3)humanitarian organization with eight consecutive 4-star ratings from Charity Navigator. Its mission is to alleviate suffering, hunger, illiteracy and disease regardless of color, race, gender or creed, and to provide aid in a compassionate and dignified manner. Islamic Relief USA aims to provide rapid relief in the event of human and natural disasters and to establish sustainable local development projects, allowing communities to better help themselves.

Limited numbers of media interviews are available from the ground.

MEDIA CONTACT: Asma Yousef, (703) 582-5880, ayousef@irusa.org



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