One hundred days after its launch the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal has raised the third highest total of any in the charity’s 45 year history.

The £72m raised by the DEC and its member agencies for East Africa is the largest total ever raised by the DEC for a food crisis, the largest for any African appeal and the largest for any country or regional appeal where conflict was one of the principle causes of a disaster.  More money was raised only for the 2004 Tsunami Earthquake Appeal (£392m) and the 2010 Haiti Earthquake Appeal (£107m).
The UK public’s extraordinary generosity has helped provide some of the funds that have allowed the DEC’s members and their partners to reach nine million people* across East Africa with aid.  
However, the DEC said today that many of those in greatest need were still not being reached by the aid effort, particularly in Somalia.  A shortage of funds from some non-UK sources was one issue but the main challenges were insecurity and limits on access faced by many agencies to the worst affected areas of Somalia.
Disasters Emergency Committee Chief Executive Brendan Gormley said:
“The incredibly generous support of the UK public for the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal has made the difference between life and death for many people in the region.
“The situation remains grave however particularly in those areas of Somalia where access for most aid agencies remains severely restricted.
“We must also confront the hard truth that the worst of this crisis could have been averted. After the 1984-85 famine in Ethiopia, systems were put in place to warn the world should famine ever threaten the region again.
“Those systems have worked extremely effectively.  Since late 2010 they have provided abundant evidence of a crisis in the making and ample early warning that urgent action was required.
“It was not the warning systems that have been found wanting but the ability of world leaders to support and resource regional governments, the UN and aid agencies to ensure there was early and effective action, particularly in war- torn Somalia.
 “All of us should examine the roles we have played and consider what we must do to ensure that the next time the alarm is raised our immediate response is not found wanting.” 
Some affected areas of Kenya and Ethiopia are beginning to see the first signs of improvement.  Increasing amounts of aid are getting through, harvests are being reaped in many areas and rains are making more pasture available for surviving livestock.  
Many people in these areas will still need ongoing emergency support in the short term. Good rains and longer term aid will be needed in the coming years to enable them to rebuild their livelihoods.  The current rains also bring their own problems, including speeding the spread of cholera which is already a major concern, particularly in Somalia. 
*  The figure of nine million people receiving aid is based on separate reports from each of the DEC’s 14 member agencies and represents the efforts of each agency and their local and international partners.  The figure does not mean that 9m of the more than 13m people affected by the crisis have now received all the help they require.  In some instances separate agencies will have provided different forms of help to the same individuals – for example one agency providing food and another water.  In other cases some but not all of an individuals needs will have been met by the aid so far provided.

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Notes to editors:

  • The DEC Appeal was announced on 6 July but launched 8 July with the broadcast of appeals by broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4.
  • The DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal covers Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.  It will continue to accept funds until the end of 2011 and all funds will be spent by July 2013.
  • Funds are spent by the DEC’s member agencies and their partners on lifesaving assistance and, where funds allow, on helping people affected by the disaster to rebuild their lives.
  • To donate £5 by text send the word CRISIS to 70000.  The full £5 will go to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal. Donors must be 16 years or over and have bill payers permission. Texts are free and donations will be added to the bill.
  • The DEC member agencies are: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, CAFOD,   CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.