Brendan Gormley, chief executive of the UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee, today welcomed news that the UK government is to provide an extra £52 million in emergency food aid to East Africa.

The aid package to Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia is on top of £38m pledged to Ethiopia in food aid by the UK government earlier this month.

Visiting Dadabb, the world’s biggest refugee camp, in Kenya today with International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, Mr Gormley warned that food shortages were worsening.

“The need to scale up the response to this disaster is urgent so I am extremely pleased that the Secretary of State has announced this further UK government funding today,’ he said.

“Combined with the extraordinary generosity of the UK public to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal, we can truly say that the UK is playing a leading role in responding to this disaster. 

“There is still however a great deal more to be done before we can say we have safeguarded the lives of the 10 million people at risk.”

The DEC announced today that donations to its East Africa appeal, which includes Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and newly formed South Sudan, have so far amounted to £18 million.

The worst drought in 60 years in parts of the region has devastated cattle and crops, with millions of people now in need of food, water and emergency healthcare. Problems are expected to be compounded by a poor harvest.

Emergency interventions already launched by DEC members and their partners in the affected areas include:

  • ActionAid: More than 220,000 people helped in Kenya and Somaliland with food, water and income generating schemes in the most vulnerable villages.
  • AgeUK: Together with Cafod launched emergency relief programme to drought-affected households in Ethiopia. Cash grants to older people for food, cash for work employment opportunities, and provision of animal feed and veterinary care.
  • British Red Cross - Kenya Red Cross providing food aid for children and pregnant women, safe drinking water, community health, and bore hole repairs. The Ethiopian Red Cross runs a food security programme.  The Somali Red Crescent operates 14 mobile health units and 30 static clinics in Somaliland and Puntland.
  • Care International: One of the main distributors of food, water and primary education for more than 370,000 people in Dadabb with another 167, 000 beneficiaries in Kenya’s North Eastern region, 41,587 in Ethiopia and 164,000 in Puntland and Somaliland (Somalia).
  • Christian Aid: Water supplies trucked to worst hit villages in Kenya helping some 77,400 people, with a further 25,210 beneficiaries in Ethiopia. Animal feed provided for livestock.
  • Concern Worldwide:A total of 400,000 beneficiaries across the region. Activities in South Central Somalia include unconditional cash transfers, food distribution through a voucher system and cash for work initiatives.
  • Islamic Relief: In Somalia and Ethiopia,provision of food aid, nutrition, water and sanitation. Similar in Kenya, with water being trucked to the worst hit areas.
  • Merlin: In Kenya running blanket feeding programmes for children under five and pregnant women, and establishing 15 new clinics, health facilities and feeding centres. In Somalia runs primary health care and nutrition programmes.
  • Plan UK: Main focus at present on Ethiopia. Aid provided includes food, water, shelter, medical assistance, child protection, education, health & food.
  • Save the Children: In Somalia, funds secured for unconditional cash transfers for severely acutely malnourished children and their families. In Kenya ongoing programmes treating malnourished children will be scaled up. Save the Children US conducting emergency nutrition activities in Ethiopia.
  • Tearfund: Cash for work programmes in Ethiopia, and in Kenya water trucking to some of the worst hit areas.