East Africa Food Crisis: What we did

Together, we prevented a catastrophic loss of life.

At the beginning of 2017, millions of children were starving as an extreme food crisis tightened its grip across East Africa. A combination of prolonged drought and conflict caused a devastating cycle of hunger and disease.

Famine was declared in parts of South Sudan. While the food insecurity in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya was reaching catastrophic levels.

Watch 'This Is Climate Change: Famine'  a critically acclaimed virtual reality film depicting the affects of drought in Somalia.

Without an urgent global response, millions of children across the region would be on the brink of starvation. And even more were at risk of killer diseases.

It was a scenario we’d been faced with before. When famine hit parts of Africa in 2011, a quarter of a million people lost their lives.

We refused to let this happen again.

Thank you

Thanks to the incredible response from our supporters, working closely with the rest of the international community, we helped avert famine in many areas across the region.

Save the Children was proud to be at the forefront of the international response, leading calls to action and scaling up our programmes in affected regions at an unprecedented rate.

Since we launched our emergency response over a year and half ago we’ve reached more than 4.5 million people, including 3 million children with lifesaving support.

Our response

  • We ran huge scale food distributions
  • We provided access to clean and safe water
  • We set up high-quality health and nutrition centres, and brought this care to hard-to-reach communities through mobile health clinics
  • We treated children and mothers with severe acute malnutrition
  • We vaccinated children against deadly diseases and treated the biggest child killers such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea.
  • We built sanitation facilities and promoted good hygiene practices within communities to curb the spread of diseases.
  • We established learning and play areas to ensure children are protected and can continue their education.
  • We gave families small cash grants, food vouchers and animal feed for livestock to help them recover their livelihoods.


The battle isn't over yet

Despite the good news, children and their families are not yet out of danger. Ongoing conflict and the long-term impacts of drought are still threatening children’s lives.

We continue to work around the clock to deliver the lifesaving interventions above, to help save children’s lives and protect their futures.

But we're also focussed on supporting longer term recovery programmes to achieve lasting and sustainable change for children.

By strengthening livelihoods and bolstering the resilience of communities to the impact of multiple failed rains, we’re fighting to break the cycle of starvation and disease.

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 admitted to one of our health centres in Ethiopia with a fever and malnutrition. Thanks to the lifesaving medicine and nutrition support provided by the centre, she received the vital care she needed to recover.

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