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Famine is looming

07 February 2017, Emergencies

In recent weeks, the news and Facebook and Twitter feeds have been dominated by a single topic: the new US president. But if we don’t look up once in a while and see what else is happening, we could miss something big.

What is happening? 

To put it simply: children in East Africa do not have enough to eat – and it’s putting their lives in danger. 

Widespread drought has caused successive crop failures, meaning scores of families have been left with no food and no way of earning income for their essential needs. Families are eating one meal a day at most, and what they do have to eat is often not very nutritious because they can only afford the cheapest food available. Without adequate food, children are weak and vulnerable to illness. 

Which countries are affected? 

South Sudan and Somalia both face famine. Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria are close behind.  Millions of children are at risk of starvation – even death – unless they receive urgent aid. 

Famine is a word we’ve become all too accustomed to hearing and it would be easy to read this and then go on with the day. 

But it means, right now, children are dying simply because they don’t have enough food. It’s excruciatingly painful, and it just shouldn’t happen in our world today. We will do everything we can to save lives, but we desperately need your support. 

There’s always drought in Africa, isn’t there? 

There are certainly areas of Africa that are prone to drought, but it is very rare for so many counties to be affected so severely at the same time. 

The October to December rains are usually reliable, but at the end of 2016, they were well below average leaving us with grave concerns. 

Why isn’t this in the news? 

There’s a lot happening in our world today. We are facing an unprecedented number of humanitarian crises and there has been a shift in how they are reported. The media has focused on situations that affect us domestically – such as the crisis in Syria and how the increase in the number of refugees impact us here in Australia. 

This means other crises, such as the debilitating drought in East Africa, have not been adequately reported on. 

“I am meeting children and families who are suffering one of the worst hunger crises the region has ever seen,” says Save the Children’s Regional Director, David Wright, “And as we scale up our programming to meet the needs of as many families as possible, I’m increasingly baffled as to why the rest of the world is not paying attention.” 

I want to help. What can I do? 

You can support our East Africa Crisis Appeal. Everything we raise will help us get urgent support to children and families in South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria. 

We are already reaching the hardest-hit communities. Right now, our teams are on the ground delivering life-saving aid: 
  • We are providing food aid and cash transfers so children can eat. 
  • Our mobile health teams are treating children suffering from severe malnutrition. 
  • We are getting clean drinking water to hard-to-reach communities. 
  • We are providing technical assistance to governments to support their responses. 
In 2010–2011, 258,000 people lost their lives in Somalia because of drought. This cannot happen again. 

Please donate today to be there when children in East Africa need you most

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