A malnourished child has their arm measured
A baby is checked for malnutrition

East Africa
Crisis Appeal 2017

East Africa
Crisis Appeal 2017

A child is checked for malnutrition. Image: Colin Crowley/Save the Children

i X

This page relates to the 2017 food crisis in East Africa. For information on the current food crisis in East Africa and links to donate, please visit this page.

Key achievements

funding icon

£66 million

raised including £10 million in Aid Match from the UK Government

water icon


people gained access to safe drinking water

food icon


people received food assistance

nutrition icon


children treated for acute malnutrition

In March 2017 drought and conflict left 23 million people in urgent need of food, water and medical treatment across East Africa. 

One of the worst droughts in generations decimated crops and livestock across East Africa in March 2017. The needs were huge: 23 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan were left in urgent need of food, water and medical treatment. Some 2.9 million people in Somalia and 5.6 million in Ethiopia required urgent food assistance, along with 2.6 million in Kenya. In South Sudan, ongoing conflict exasperated the situation.

Rates of malnutrition soared, with more than 300,000 children in need of treatment in 2017 in Ethiopia alone. 

Limited access to sanitation increased the risk of communicable diseases, such as cholera. Large numbers of people were forced to migrate in search of food and water, more than 250,000 people in Somalia and thousands more in Ethiopia and Kenya were forced to leave their homes. Families were separated, with women and children in particular more vulnerable to abuse and violence

A man stands in a field of maize

Seeds and tools helped families regrow crops and restore livelihoods

Doida stands in a field of maize in South Omo, Ethiopia - one of the areas worst affected by the 2017 drought - grown from seeds provided by Plan International. Image: Barney Guiton/DEC

i X

On 15 March 2017, the DEC launched the East Africa Crisis Appeal to the UK public, a total of £66.4 million was raised, including £10 million in Aid Match from the UK government. 

As a result, more than 636,000 people gained access to safe drinking water, 52,000 children were treated for acute malnutrition and 15,300 received school meals for a term which allowed them to continue with their education. 

Families received seeds and tools to help them restore their livelihoods and 30,700 people now have access to new or restored toilets, ensuring better conditions for them and their families into the future.

A woman who receive food assistance

Elema (pictured) was part of a food security project funded by the DEC's East Africa Crisis Appeal 2017. Photo: Barney Guiton/DEC

i X


When Elema’s livestock died and her crops were bad, she and her family faced hunger and malnutrition. She received food assistance through DEC member Age International and was put on a malnutrition programme. Elema said: "The support helped us a lot. We have nothing to rely on. I was measured and found to be malnourished, so I received the food and now I am gaining weight.”

DEC funds helped more than 331,000 people like Elema feed themselves and their families.


for this appeal, including £10 million matched by the UK Government. Thank you!