After losing over one hundred of their animals to the drought, this family were forced to abandon their life as rural herders and seek refuge in the town of Kiridh, Somaliland

East Africa Food Crisis Appeal

East Africa is in the grip of a critical hunger crisis

A combination of recurring drought and conflict has left 21 million people across Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan in urgent need of food assistance.

The critical hunger crisis is threatening lives and forcing millions of families to flee their homes. Outbreaks of cholera and diarrhoea have pushed families with restricted access to safe water and basic healthcare to the limit.

Beyond the threat of hunger and disease, millions of children across the four countries are estimated to be at risk of dropping out of school and children are becoming more exposed to exploitation through child marriage, trafficking, prostitution, and recruitment into armed groups.

In recent months, parts of all four countries have had their coping mechanisms further stretched by recent storms and flooding. Areas that have suffered severe drought have suddenly seen abnormally heavy rains in a very short period and the intensely dry land cannot absorb water fast enough, causing flash flooding.

The arrival of rains 

A powerful tropical cyclone hit northern Somalia and Somaliland in May, dropping an entire year’s worth of rain in just a few days. More than 700,000 people, including hundreds of thousands of children, have been affected. Well above average rainfall has also hammered down on areas across Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan.

The arrival of rains was once welcomed in drought-stricken areas. However, the weather has been so extreme that it has destroyed hopes of rains leading to meaningful recovery in many areas across the region.

Flooding has devastated crops and farms. Homes have been swept away leaving thousands more displaced. The risk of water-borne diseases such as cholera is significantly higher.

While the drought may be over in some places, children who were already vulnerable are now in an even more critical situation.

Meanwhile, many regions throughout the four countries that haven’t been affected by the rains continue to grapple with the ongoing drought without access to enough food or water.

Storm Sagar hits Somalia

Livestock were destroyed in the impact of Storm Sagar landing in Somalia

Save the Children in East Africa

The situation across East Africa is extremely fragile but we’re on the ground responding to the changing needs across the region and helping to save lives before it is too late. The needs are immense but so is our determination to reach every last child.

When we launched our response in the region last year, our quick action helped avert famine in many areas across the region. In 2017 we reached more than 4.6 million people with lifesaving support across the region.

However, the situation remains critical, and the humanitarian needs are still immense. Without continued action, we risk all our efforts being lost.

How we're helping

Ethiopia crisis.
  • We’re distributing food to mothers and children under five
  • We’re screening and treating children and mothers with severe acute malnutrition
  • We’re delivering healthcare to hard to reach communities through mobile health clinics
  • We’re building sanitation facilities and promoting good hygiene practices to curb the spread of acute watery diarrhoea.
  • We’re providing lifesaving drinking water to drought-affected communities through water trucking
  • We’ve established temporary learning spaces and play areas to ensure children are protected, allowing those who have suffered trauma or distress to overcome their experiences and continue their education.

Just £27 could provide a nutritious daily school lunch for one student for a month.

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South Sudan
  • We are screening children and pregnant or lactating woman for malnutrition in Jonglei State.
  • We’re training men and women in child nutrition.
  • We’re protecting the livelihoods of agricultural families by distributing crop seeds, farming tools, fishing kits and livestock drugs.
  • We’re providing access to clean and safe water by repairing water points, distributing hygiene kits and training water management committees.
  • We’re providing psychosocial support services, and educating children about their rights, child protection issues, gender equality and peacebuilding.

£42 could cover the cost of a six-week course of Nutritious Peanut Paste, to help treat a child suffering from malnutrition.

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  • Our health teams continue to screen and treat malnutrition and run supplementary feeding programmes.
  • We’re providing children with medical treatment and vaccinations against common childhood illnesses
  • We’re enrolling children into counselling programmes and youth clubs, training teachers and households in child protection.

£38 could help buy a play kit for a child being treated for severe malnutrition with medical complications, stimulating their mental wellbeing and giving them respite from their illness.

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  • We are screening and treating malnourished children.
  • We’re providing free healthcare to communities and vaccinating children against preventable diseases
  • We’re ensuring access to safe drinking water and training community volunteers on safe hygiene practices to prevent the spread of water-borne diseases.
  • We’re supporting livelihood recovery by giving families small grants, food vouchers and animal feed for livestock.

Just £7.50 could be used to reach one child in Somalia with essential basic health services.

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Ade's story

Ade, five-months-old, was brought in by her mother Awia, at a stabilisation centre in Ethiopia.

Ade*, five-months-old, was brought in by her mother Awia to a stabilisation centre in Ethiopia. Ade was admitted with a fever and malnutrition but doctors said she would be discharged in the next day or two if her condition continues to improve.

Save the Children support the stabilisation centre in Gode, Somali region. The centre provides pivotal, lifesaving medicine and nutrition support to the local community.

£60 could help support one severely malnourished child in Ethiopia with medicine, therapeutic food and other treatment at an Outpatient Clinic for a month.

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