Three months on – aid is helping thousands in East Africa



Just three months on from the launch of the DEC’s East Africa Crisis Appeal, donations from the UK public have already helped more than 250,000 people. DEC charities now plan to help 850,000 people by October and up to 1.5 million people over the coming year. Aid delivery includes supplying food parcels, trucking clean drinking water to drought-stricken communities, distributing animal feed, and treating malnourished women and children.


Islamic Relief distributing thousands of food packs in Mogadishu and Bay. Credit: Abdi Hamid/Islamic Relief

However, the ongoing drought and conflict are making the situation worse. It is estimated that almost 23 million people in South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia need humanitarian support. Half a million children under five are at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition and require immediate lifesaving treatment.


As more people are forced to leave their homes in search of food, water and safety, and large numbers of displaced people gather in overcrowded conditions, diseases such as cholera and measles are spreading fast.


In South Sudan, the ongoing fighting has meant that more than 3.5 million people have fled their homes and left their livelihoods behind in search for food. An estimated 6 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.


A family in Aweil, South Sudan, have no food and resort to collecting water lilies to eat. Credit: Andreea Campeanu/Arete Stories/DEC

DEC-funded aid planned to be delivered in South Sudan by October 2017 includes: 

  • Red Cross providing food to 90,000 people   

  • Tearfund providing seeds and tools for 2,640 people

  • World Vision delivering clean drinking water by truck for 16,000 people.


In Somalia more than 3 million people cannot meet their daily food needs and parts of the country are at risk of famine. A major concern is the outbreak of preventable diseases; this year alone, 38,000 cases of cholera and 8,000 of measles have been reported, with children under five being hit hardest. 



Pictured here is 4-year-old Asha* with her grandmother Sulekha* receiving cholera treatment at the Bayhaw hospital. Credit: Mustafa Saeed/Save the Children [*names have been changed to protect identity]


DEC-funded aid to be delivered in Somalia by October includes: 

  • ActionAid providing rubber sheets to store water and trucking clean water reaching 9,000 people

  • CARE International distributing food vouchers to support 3,000 people

  • Concern Worldwide distributing cash to help 11,000 people so that families can buy the basic items they need

  • Islamic Relief providing tents and plastic sheeting for 12,000 displaced people.


In Kenya, more than 2.6 million people need urgent food assistance and 109,000 children under five suffer from severe acute malnutrition. Water shortages caused by the drought are severely affecting people, livestock and crops.

DEC-funded aid to be delivered in Kenya by October includes:

  • CAFOD distributing water purification sachets to help 2,000 people

  • Oxfam distributing cash to support 36,000 people

  • Save the Children treating 95,000 malnourished children and women. 


In Ethiopia, the population is still recovering from the El Nino-induced drought of 2015/16. This year’s limited spring rains, particularly in the south-eastern parts of the country, mean that the number of people now needing food assistance has increased from 5.6 million to 7.8 million in the first quarter of 2017 and is likely to worsen. 


Oxfam water trucking in operation in Somali Region, Ethiopia. Tanks are filled from trucks and then the water is distributed. Credit: Tina Hillier/Oxfam

DEC-funded aid to be delivered in Ethiopia by October includes: 

  • Age International distributing food vouchers to support 12,000 people

  • Christian Aid trucking in clean drinking water for 10,000 people

  • Plan International distributing animal feed to help 6,000 farmers sustain their livestock. 


Saleh Saeed, DEC Chief Executive, says: “DEC charities are highly experienced in adapting to severe and changing conditions and ensuring that donations help save as many lives as possible. Funds are being spent on food parcels and safe drinking water as well as life-lines like plastic sheets for collecting rain water and fishing kits so that people can find food for themselves.


“Where DEC charities have scaled up their relief efforts with funds from the appeal, we are seeing results. But, sadly, the current need far outstrips the assistance available. We have not yet turned the tide on this crisis. Unless we can help get more food, clean water and medical assistance to those in desperate need, lives will be lost.”