Seven Million People At Risk Of Starvation Across East Africa
More than seven million people across six countries in East Africa are on the brink of starvation. If the international community does not act now, thousands could face long-term health consequences or die, warns World Vision.
Andrew Morley, World Vision International President & CEO, said: "The world needs to wake up now. Millions of children are being pushed to the brink of starvation. They are facing a deadly cocktail of conflict, climate change and the crushing aftershocks of COVID-19. I’ve seen first-hand the devastating impact of malnutrition in many places we work.”
It is estimated that more than 108,000 people in East Africa are under catastrophic famine-conditions, marked by critical acute malnutrition, starvation, destitution and death. Additionally, almost 7 million people are one step away from famine, and as many as 26 million require urgent action to prevent them sliding into the same acute situation.
“We are marshalling resources to support vulnerable communities across East Africa, to avert the catastrophic effects of hunger, starvation and loss of livelihoods particularly on children,” said Joseph Kamara, Regional Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs Director for World Vision East Africa. “It is not too late to avert the crisis, but it will be soon, if we don't act.”
East Africa has endured substantial and widespread breeding of desert locusts since late 2019, resulting in loss of pasture and crops. During the second half of 2020, large-scale floods destroyed the crops of more than four million people across the region. Furthermore, the region is gripped by protracted crises and fragility in several countries compounded by the new conflict in Tigray, Ethiopia, which has dramatically increased food insecurity. “The humanitarian response to each of these issues has been limited by insufficient funding due to competing humanitarian needs in other regions,” said Mr Kamara.
World Vision has declared a multi-country emergency response for Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Kenya and Uganda. It aims to reach approximately 2.4 million people, including 490,000 children. The organisation is already responding with food distributions in multiple countries.
“In the face of unprecedented global demands for humanitarian funding, crises in East Africa are receiving limited international attention, despite urgent and life-threatening needs,” said Mr Kamara. “We appeal to national governments, regional institutions, humanitarian actors and donors to urgently address the hunger crisis in East Africa and more forcefully communicate its breadth and severity.”
“Let me be direct: there is no place or excuse for famine in the 21st century. We have the resources and technology to feed the world.The fact we have reached this point shows there has been a clear and catastrophic moral failure by the international community.A generation of girls and boys needs us to bring hope. Children of the world are looking to us to act,”said Andrew Morley