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Famine stalks East Africa and the horn


There is a high risk of famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen in 2017 because of armed conflict, drought and economic collapse. It has the potential to be the worst famine in 70 years with more than 20 million people in the four countries at risk of starvation. Beyond the four, communities in Kenya and Ethiopia are in critical need of food aid if they are to survive.

Famine is when more than 30 percent of children under age five suffer from acute malnutrition and mortality rates are two or more deaths per 10,000 people every day, among other criteria. Without collective and coordinated action by the international community, many people will starve to death. Humanitarian aid is essential, but food is not enough. Conflict across all four countries has created the conditions for famine to spread. Peace is essential if this man-made famine is to be contained.

Caritas is working through the local Church or partner organisations across all four most severely affected countries, in their neighbouring countries were refugees have fled and in Kenya and Ethiopia where conditions are bleak. Caritas is providing food aid, including airdrops when access is limited, livelihoods, agricultural support, safe clean water and healthcare.

Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy said, “Caritas and the Church are working with the people to ensure they have food, medicine and clean water. Humanitarian aid is crucial to save lives, but famine is a product of political failure. Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen have one thing in common: conflict. Only peace can guarantee millions of people facing hunger today.”

Conditions are difficult due to the conflict. Only political solutions will ultimately end human suffering and bring stability. Emergency assistance only helps if people can access it. All warring sides must provide access to humanitarian organisations. Otherwise people will die.

Pope Francis said, “At this time it’s more necessary than ever for everyone to not just stop with words, but to take concrete action so that food aid can reach suffering populations.”

Caritas Updates from East Africa & The Horn

  • Overcoming drought in Kenya

Overcoming drought in Kenya

  • 22 June 2017
Thanks to Catholic Relief Services and the the Diocese of Lodwar, boreholes in Turkana have been repaired and small scale farmers given support to utilise local water.
  • Fighting famine with the people of Somalia

Fighting famine with the people of Somalia

  • 19 June 2017
Cholera has been contained but Somalia is still facing a worsening humanitarian crisis with 6.7 million people in need of urgent assistance as severe drought sweeps across East Africa.
  • Caritas responds to East Africa food crisis

Caritas responds to East Africa food crisis

  • 8 June 2017
Caritas is currently funding 140 aid projects aimed at providing assistance for more than 4.3 million people in need. Around two thirds of Caritas programmes focus on food security and livelihoods.

East Africa Photo Gallery

2017 Somalia March-CRS


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