East Africa: A disaster that could have been avoided

Thousands of lives could have been saved if the world had acted on early warnings that families in East Africa would face dangerous levels of hunger, says our new report.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

The report, A Dangerous Delay, says that the international community waited until the situation in East Africa had become a full-blown humanitarian crisis before mobilising significant funding for aid to the region.

Warnings predicting a potentially deadly food crisis in East Africa came as early as November 2010, but malnutrition rates tripled in some parts of Somalia before the media reports triggered a full emergency response in July 2011.

The UK government estimates that between 50-100,000 people died in East Africa due the crisis, and the report says many of those lives could have been saved if action had been taken earlier.  

A Dangerous Delay, co-authored with Oxfam, recommends that reforms set out in the Charter to End Extreme Hunger need to be implemented if such delays are not to be repeated. The Charter has been developed by a coalition of aid agencies.

Britain needs to act

Save the Children is campaigning for the UK government to sign the Charter and a petition calling for David Cameron to act has attracted thousands of our supporters.

Justin Forsyth said: "We can no longer allow this grotesque situation to continue, where the world knows an emergency is coming but ignores it until confronted with television pictures of desperately malnourished children.

"The warning signs were clear and with more money when it really mattered the suffering of thousands of children would have been avoided."

Urgent need

Thanks to the generosity of the British public we raised £7 million in donations since we launched our East Africa Appeal in July 2011. 

The money has been used to provide life-saving aid, including food, clean water and healthcare, to 2.5 million people and helped saved hundreds of thousands of children's lives.

But we desperately need to secure more funds to keep our work going this year and build on what we’ve achieved in the last six months.

Please help ensure the children we've already helped don't slip backwards into starvation again.

Please donate now.