This week, the Disasters Emergency Committee in the UK, has launched an East Africa Crisis appeal
in response to the rapidly deteriorating situation in the region which has left millions of people
starving and in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.
Bishops’ Appeal is calling on our supporters to pray for those affected by the crisis, and to give what
you can to help these men, women and children in their time of need. All the money raised for our
emergency appeal will be split between two of our main partner charities: Christian Aid and
Tearfund, both of whom are members of the DEC.
Overview of the crisis
Hunger on a massive scale is looming across South Sudan, northern Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, as a
combination of drought and conflict have left nearly 20 million people severely food insecure –
meaning that they do not have enough food to feed themselves. Kenya and Ethiopia are also on the
verge of crisis, with millions in need of humanitarian assistance.
Across the four countries, people are in critical need of food, water and health support, with women
and children suffering the most. The UN says that 1.4million children are at imminent risk of death
from severe acute malnutrition.
Brief outline of numbers affected
In South Sudan, 100,000 people are facing starvation, another 1 million people are on the brink of
famine and a further 3.9 million need urgent food aid.
In Nigeria, 5 million people do not have enough food, including half a million children who are facing
In Somalia, 6.2 million people are going hungry, and reports state that 363,000 children under five
are extremely malnourished.
In Yemen, 7 million people are severely food insecure after years of ongoing conflict.
In Kenya, 2.4 million people do not have enough to eat as a result of repeated failed harvests.
In Ethiopia, 5.7 million people are facing severe food shortages, after two years of drought.
A more detailed review of each country
South Sudan has been engulfed in a vast humanitarian crisis since violence broke out in 2013. Over
3.4 million people have fled their homes and the land they farmed. Drought in parts of the country
has worsened the effects of the ongoing conflict. Nearly five million people do not have enough food
and close to 100,000 are in imminent danger of death by starvation.
The crisis in northern Nigeria is one of the most complex and most serious in the world right now.
Conflict has forced around two million people from their homes and over five million people do not
have enough food, including 2.5 million children under five and their mothers. Around half a million
malnourished children could die if they do not get food and medical care immediately.
In Somalia, the main problem now is drought. The country has had less than half its normal rainfall
for nearly three years. Crops have withered and animals have died. Experts warn that, without
immediate scale up in humanitarian assistance, a situation worse than that of the 2011 famine could
unravel in the next few months. So far, nearly 3 million people are severely food insecure.
More people are severely food insecure in Yemen – a staggering 7 million – than anywhere else in
the world. Over two million have fled their homes because of ongoing fighting, and two-thirds of
them live with host families.
In Kenya, the government declared a national emergency and asked for international support earlier
in February 2017. Following the short-rain assessment in January 2017, the number of food insecure
people in Kenya has doubled to 2.7 million compared to 1.3 million in August 2016.
Ethiopia is facing the worst drought in half a century and some 5.6 million people require food
assistance this year.
How Bishops’ Appeal partners are responding:
Christian Aid Ireland
Through local partner organisations, they are already working to provide access to food and water to
some of the most vulnerable people in Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan, and in Somalia they are
working through the ACT Alliance sister agencies. With further support from Bishops’ Appeal, they
hope to provide school meals to children, provide more cash and food vouchers for families, and
repair much needed water sources. Christian Aid is also supporting ongoing projects in Nigeria, and
launched an appeal for both Nigeria and Yemen back before Christmas.
Tearfund Ireland is already working with local churches in South Sudan and Ethiopia to alleviate
poverty and hunger. With further support from the Bishops' Appeal they hope to provide much
needed food vouchers and cash to the most vulnerable families, while building the capacity of local
groups towards increased resilience to future shocks and disasters. Tearfund Ireland is partnering
with local faith based organisations and collaborates with members of the Integral Alliance.