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Five ways to help the humanitarian crisis across Africa

The United Nations says the world is experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of the Second World War. Millions of people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria are facing famine and starvation.

Dr. Samantha Nutt, from War Child Canada, says there are five ways you are able to start helping the humanitarian crisis across Africa. 

1. Donations 

Donating is a quick and efficient way to help, says Nutt. There are several Canadian organizations that have extensive experience in conflict areas that respond to catastrophes.

Nutt says some of these organizations include: UNICEF, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Oxfam, War Child Canada, World Vision, Save the Children, PLAN international, International Committee of the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières International.

2. Regular gifts

Any combination of war, drought, displacement, lack of local resources and climate change can cause famine, Nutt says. Because these catastrophes can take years to tackle effectively, donations should help to reduce the threat of war and famine over a long period of time, not just in immediate relief. 

Regular gifts, like monthly contributions, are more effective than one-time donations because organizations can plan better for the future, in the case of emergency, when they have continued support, Nutt says. 

3. Help children, the sick and the elderly first

The people most vulnerable to famine and malnutrition are children, the sick and the elderly. If you're thinking about donating to the cause, consider helping people in these high priority groups first, says Nutt.  

4. Be cautious of what you send

It's important to know what items should and should not be sent to those in need. Things like food, clothing, medication and other 'hard goods' actually do more damage than good when sent overseas. These items are too expensive to ship, and they can actually undermine the local economy and farmers, according to Nutt.

5. Be proactive 

The best time to help is now, before the crisis gets worse, and hundreds of thousands of people start dying. Nutt says it is possible to combat famine with humanitarian intervention and political resolve, so if you can help to prevent a catastrophe, and have the means to help, Nutt says the quicker, the better. 

To learn more about the crisis and how you can help, watch the video above.