DEC aims to help prevent East Africa Crisis becoming a catastrophe

10/07/2011

The DEC today set out the reasons it feared that the current crisis in East Africa would become a catastrophe without a substantially greater international intervention. 
 
The umbrella body representing the UK’s 14 leading aid agencies explicitly rejected suggestions that aid agencies were ’crying wolf’ and said instead that they were right to raise the alarm before the current crisis deepened.
 
It cited the following indicators that the current situation was far more serious than the frequent seasonal droughts in the region:  
 
• In some areas the drought is the worst in 60 years according to an analysis by FEWSNET.
 
• More than 10 million people have been affected across a wide area of East Africa.
 
• Acute malnutrition (GAM) has reached 37% in some parts of north east Kenya, double the 15 % emergency threshold.  
 
• Child refugees from Somalia are dying of causes related to malnutrition either during the journey or very shortly after arrival.
 
• Prices of essential food items have skyrocketed, in some cases more than doubling as the price of the cattle that people are selling to buy grain falls sharply.
 
• The number of refugees fleeing from Somalia has increased significantly with 1,700 a day arriving in Ethiopia and 1,400 a day arriving in Dadaab in Kenya.
 
Disasters Emergency Committee Chief Executive Brendan Gormley said:
 
“The accustation that aid agencies are crying wolf when we try to raise the alarm early enough to avert a major catatrosphe has become wholly predictable.  We accept the need to present our evidence and justify our conclusions.  All we ask is the opportunity to do so.”
 
“If the public are as generous as we know they can be, if world government’s step up and if our members and others rapidly increase their responses then a catasrophie can still be averted.  If that is the outcome we accept that part of the price will be that many commentators will ask whether there was ever really a crisis at all.”
 
DEC member agencies recognise that long term solutions are needed to address the underlying vulnerability of many pastoralists in the horn of Africa and in many cases they are working to try to deliver these changes. However we are now facing a critical situation which could spiral out of control unless funds are received to support emergency operations.
 
Money from this appeal will be used to help people survive and rebuild their lives.

  • £25 will provide safe drinking water for around 400 people 
  • £50 will provide vaccinations for 2,000 children 
  • £100 will provide emergency food parcels to feed 100 families in Kenya and Somalia. 

Sources:

  • In some areas the drought is the worst in 60 years according to an analysis by FEWSNET
  • More than 10 million people have been affected across a wide area of East Africa, FEWSNET.
  • Acute malnutrition (GAM) has reached 37% in some parts of north east Kenya, double the 15 % emergency threshold, Reliefweb.
  • Child refugees from Somalia are dying of causes related to malnutrition either during the journey or very shortly after arrival.
  • Prices of essential food items have skyrocketed, in some cases more than doubling as the price of cattle that people are selling to buy grain falls sharply, FEWSNET.
  • The number of refugees fleeing from Somalia has increased significantly with 1,700 a day arriving in Ethiopia and 1,400 a day arriving in Dadaab in Kenya.