Bill Nighy urges the British public ‘Don’t delay, donate!’ to East Africa Crisis Appeal


Bill Nighy is supporting the East Africa Crisis Appeal on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

One month after famine was declared in South Sudan, actor Bill Nighy stars in a new campaign urging the British public not to delay in donating to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal. Hunger is looming across the region on an unprecedented scale. Without immediate action, 16 million people are at risk of starving to death.

Minor delays may frustrate us in our everyday lives – such as being left on hold, or waiting for a delayed train. But this campaign urges the public not to delay any further in helping the people of East Africa. Because the stakes could not be higher.

Fronted by the Golden Globe winning actor, the video appeal captures attention by causing a series of ‘delays’ for the public throughout the week. Playing at commuter train stations across London and interrupting the start of YouTube videos, it will add urgency to the message that the people of East Africa cannot wait any longer.

Leading UK aid charities announced a joint fundraising appeal on Wednesday 15 March to help millions of people across East Africa facing hunger.

Drought and conflict have left millions on the brink of starvation and in need of food, water and medical treatment. People are already dying in South Sudan and Somalia; aid is desperately needed to get to the worst-affected areas as soon as possible.

The British public have so far responded generously by donating £17 million since the appeal launch. However this is a humanitarian crisis on a huge scale and more funds are still urgently needed.

Oxfam Global Ambassador Bill Nighy said:

"This is a race against time. Millions of families in East Africa are at serious risk of dying from starvation as we speak, absolutely desperate for food and clean water. Many have died already, so we have to act today. Any delay in aid will cost more lives and cause even greater anguish.

“Women, older people and children are the most vulnerable. A staggering 800,000 under-fives in the region are starving and dangerously weak. It's a horrific situation, but we can help.

“Donating right now will deliver aid and save lives. No one should starve to death or suffer like this."

Many more public figures have also shown support for the appeal since the launch. Brenda Blethyn, Eddie Redmayne, Matt Baker and Tamsin Greig have all recorded broadcast appeals and Sir Mo Farah has also recorded a personal message from Ethiopia.

Others such as Al Murray, Bear Grylls, Bonnie Wright, David Harewood, James Purefoy, JK Rowling, Lucy Rose, Luke Evans, Michaela Coel, Noma Dumezweni, Rankin, Samantha Morton, Simon Pegg, Stephen Mangan have also rallied on social media in support of the Disasters Emergency Committee and its thirteen member agencies.

DEC Chief Executive, Saleh Saeed, said:

“These appeals by British public figures highlight how vital each minute really is.

“After the 2011 Somalia famine, the international community said ‘never again’. This time we have the opportunity to intervene, so together we can save and protect lives.

“Our member charities are ready on the ground delivering life-saving help but they need more support to reduce the scale and severity of the crisis.

“But we must act now or the number of deaths will drastically increase. Don’t delay – please donate!”

To make a donation to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal visit, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 610, donate over the counter at any high-street bank or post office, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word DONATE to 70000. The Government will match your donation, pound-for-pound, up to £10 million.

Stay up to date with developments in East Africa, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on twitter:, on Facebook via or by searching #fightingfamine




Notes to editors:

  • Media enquiries please call 020 7255 4272 or 07930 999 014 (out of hours).
  • The public figures are not available for interview.
  • Bill Nighy is a Global Ambassador for DEC member charity Oxfam.
  • Tamsin Greig is an Ambassador for DEC member charity Tearfund.
  • The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam, Plan International UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.
  • All DEC agencies will support the appeal and are responding in East Africa
  • The countries included in the East Africa Crisis appeal are South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
  • The UN declared famine in parts of Unity State in South Sudan on 20 February 2017. The last time the UN declared famine anywhere in the world was 6 years ago in Somalia when 260,000 people, mostly women and children, died.
  • To make a postal donation make cheques payable to ‘DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal’ and mail to ‘PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA’. 
  • Donations can be made at any high street bank and at Post Office counters.
  • To donate £5 by text send the word DONATE 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.
  • Eddie Redmayne, Matt Baker and Brenda Blethyn have also given their backing to the appeal by recording calls for support from the public.
  • To watch Eddie Redmayne’s broadcast for the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal visit:
  • To watch Matt Baker’s broadcast for the East Africa Crisis Appeal visit: