Leader of the opposition Ed Miliband visited the DEC today as the umbrella body for the UK’s leading aid agencies announced its East Africa Crisis Appeal had raised £27m.

Mr Miliband was briefed on the crisis by DEC Chair Clive Jones and Chief Executive Brendan Gormley.  To help the DEC promote its text to give service  Mr Miliband texted GIVE to 70000 to give £5.  So far £500,000 has been raised by text to give, a new record for the DEC.
 
Drought, inflation, chronic poverty and conflict have led to a declaration of famine in two regions of Somalia with other areas expected to follow without urgent action.
 
This is the worst drought in 60 years in parts of East Africa with more than 10 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and the newly-formed Republic of South Sudan left in need of food, water and emergency healthcare.
 
Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee Brendan Gormley said:
 
“We are grateful to Ed Miliband for his support and for helping us to promote our incredibly successful text to give service for the East Africa Crisis.
 
“This is the first famine of the 21st century - a century which should never have known famine.  People are dying today in Somalia for the lack of food and water.  Our member agencies are in Somalia and the surrounding countries.  They can save lives but they need the public’s continuing support.”
 
Malnutrition (GAM) has reached 50% in some areas of Somalia.  A level of 15% is considered an emergency, with 30% or more being one of the indicators of famine.  More than six children under five per 10,000 are dying each day in these.
 
Ten of the 14 agencies that make up the DEC are working in Somalia directly or through partners, including in some cases in the south or centre of the country.