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Global response to East Africa's hunger crisis is only the 'tip of the ice berg', says Christian Aid

15 August 2017 - Christian Aid's emergency fundraising appeal for East Africa's hunger crisis has raised more than £2.1/€2.3m in six months says the charity, as it urges the global community to do more to stop the scandal of mass starvation.

**Audio / Video clip attached**

To date, Christian Aid and its local partners have helped nearly 75,000 people across Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan, since launching an emergency appeal in February.

Christian Aid is now issuing a renewed plea for urgent, comprehensive global action to help some of the 20m people affected by food shortages, fuelled by either severe drought or conflict.

Christian Aid Ireland CEO, Rosamond Bennett, recently visited Kitui County in Kenya to see for herself the devastation that continued drought has caused. Speaking from a dried-up riverbed she said:

'I cannot believe what I am seeing here, every river I go to is completely dried up. When you don’t have water, you cannot irrigate your crops, you cannot get anything to grow and you cannot feed your animals or your family.

'People are relying totally on any help and support they can get from organisations like Christian Aid. Even though I knew how bad the situation was, I am even more shocked now that I am here. It’s appalling, there’s nothing left.

'The people here don’t know when the rains will come next or when they can harvest their food. Climate change is affecting them the most, even though they are doing the least to contribute to it.

'It really is a dire situation.'

Speaking from Kenya Christian Aid’s regional humanitarian adviser, Mbaraka Fazal, said:

'In terms of scale and intensity, this is the worst disaster that I have seen in my 20 years as a humanitarian worker, and the worst in our generation. It is certainly the worst Christian Aid and our partners here in East Africa have dealt with.

'We are working relentlessly to support those in need of life-saving assistance. So far, we have managed to deliver aid to 74,879 people, from helping them access food and clean water, to giving them the means to catch fish, feed their cattle, earn an income and keep their children in school.

'Over 20 million people are affected by this catastrophe. Together with other national and international aid agencies, we are only touching the tip of the iceberg. So many lives hang in the balance, as hunger, thirst and disease tighten their grip.

'In 2017, it is a scandal that anyone should starve to death. Yet, that is the reality facing millions of people – from babies to the most elderly. As an international community, we cannot just sit by and watch from the side-lines. We can, and we must, do more. We need extra funding to help women, children and men not only survive, but also rebuild their lives.'

In Kenya and Ethiopia, persistent drought and poor rains have driven people to their limit: harvests have failed, water sources have dried up, and cattle – the life-source for many – have died in their thousands. In South Sudan, violent conflict has forced millions to abandon their homes and land, with more than half the population severely short of food.

Mbaraka Fazal said: 'In order to survive, people are migrating long distances to search for food, safe water, work and grazing lands for their animals. This is leading to conflict between different groups, as tensions rise over what little resources remain.

'Malnutrition levels are alarmingly high, especially for under-five-year-olds. We can’t sit by and watch a generation of children die before they have had a chance to live. We need to act now.'

To support Christian Aid's work in East Africa visit christianaid.ie or call 01 4967040 (Republic of Ireland) or 02890648133 (Northern Ireland). 


 
-ENDS-

**Audio clip attached**
Click here to listen to Mbaraka Fazal discussing the scale and impact of the food crisis.

we can do that as quickly as possible.  We’re also helping communities to develop their own plans and identify safe havens where they can escape to should violence erupt.'

  

For more information please contact:

Tess Purcell , Marketing and Communications Officer, 00353 (0) 87 6667808

or

Meabh Smith , Head of Communications, 00353 (0) 87 2068483 

 

Notes to editors: 

  1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

  2. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

  3. Follow Christian Aid Ireland on Twitter @christianaidirl

  4. For more information about the work of Christian Aid Ireland visit www.christianaid.ie
     

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