North Texas

Local African Immigrants Pleading for Famine Relief in East Africa

Some days Alex Karundu struggles to look at the pictures coming from his homeland.

Inside his Grapevine office, the Kenya native has the flag of his home country proudly displayed on his desk. He doesn't need to see news reports to understand the depth of the drought and famine in East Africa. He's lived it.

"It's a sight you don't want to look at, especially when you're seeing kids with flies over their face, and hungry and eating anything that's in their way," he said. "Mothers holding babies and they're just waiting on the [food] line, waiting for whatever they can be given."

More than 30 million people in the East African nations of Somalia, South Sudan, Yemen and Kenya are going hungry. Hundreds have already died from starvation and that number is expected to climb.

The United Nations says it is the worst humanitarian crisis the organization has seen since it was established in 1945.

Mothers are going hungry so their children can eat. Entire families are trekking hundreds of miles in search of refuge.

Some experts estimate that solving the crisis will take upwards of $4 billion.

"There's a sense of hopelessness from their perspective, but from where I sit, I think we can do more," said Karundu.

Karundu is a member of the East Africa Chamber of Commerce. The organization works with the World Food Programme to try to stall the crises.

The group's chair, Elsa Juko-McDowell, said money helps, but it cannot be the only solution.

"Famine is not new. It's a matter of educating people, getting people involved. The people within those [African] governments have to be able to help themselves and it's about us here in [North Texas] connecting with those government agencies in those areas to help," she said.

If you would like to help you can email the East Africa Chamber of Commerce at

To get involved with the World Food Programme, click here.

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