Ottawa's Somali community is coming up with innovative ways to raise awareness and money for the famine in their home country.

Ahmed Dire is behind, a website that has become one of the main sources for people to find updates on the famine.

He said his website gets thousands of hits a day.

"Right now it's become an information hub for all of the cities from California to Edmonton," he said.

That need for information and assistance continues to grow as tens of thousands of people, many of them children, have died from malnutrition in Somalia in the past months.

Thousands more have left the country for Kenya, staying in a refugee camp at Dadaab.

Dire said he can relate to the faces he sees in the media.

"That could have been me," he said. "You know that could have been me or that could have been somebody related to me."

That sentiment is echoed by Somali Relief Ottawa, who are trying to get people to donate despite reports of Somali militants delaying aid shipments.

"There are people who are dying by the thousands on a daily basis," said Leyla Jeyte. "So in order for us to be skeptics like that and hold back, I don't think we should be doing it."

Somali Relief Ottawa says you can help by going to a fundraising dinner Friday night at the Jim Durrell complex on Walkley Road from 6 to 9 with Premier Dalton McGuinty and Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, appearing via teleconference.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefan Keyes