DEC warns many in East Africa face hard road to recovery


One year after the launch of the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal the extraordinary generosity of the UK public has funded help to 2.3m people in the region*.

Marking the anniversary, the Disasters Emergency Committee announced the final total given by the UK public was £79m*, making this one of the most generously supported appeals in the organisation’s history.  

The DEC warned however the road to recovery for many of the people of the region would be a hard one.  Livestock numbers remain severely depleted, crops in many areas have withered after another season of poor rains and continuing conflict and insecurity in many parts of Somalia mean most displaced people are reluctant to return home.

This year more than nine million people have required aid in the region and yet the UN emergency appeal for Somalia is only 38% funded while the appeal for Kenya is 51% funded. While remaining DEC funds can continue to be used throughout the coming year, many other sources of funding are running dry and aid agencies working in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, including several DEC member agencies, are today appealing for funding from international donors. 
The Disasters Emergency Committee’s new Chief Executive Saleh Saeed, who has just returned from the region, said:
“The UK public can be justifiably proud of the contribution they have made through their donations to saving lives and relieving terrible suffering in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.  There can be no doubt however that the road to recovery for the people of the region will be hard and uncertain as erratic rains continue to blight many lives. 
“Just last week I saw crops withering in the field in some areas, so we should not underestimate the importance of our continued support which must come not just from existing DEC funds but also from other sources.”
Of the DEC money spent so far, 43% had paid for food while a further 41% helped provide water, sanitation and healthcare – including treatment for malnutrition. DEC agencies spent 35% of these funds in Kenya, 33% in Somalia, 31% in Ethiopia and 1% in South Sudan.  
Examples of the work funded by the DEC so far include:

  •  59,000 children treated for malnutrition
  • 182,000 people given healthcare
  •  871,000 people’s water supply improved
  •  628,000 people given food or cash for food
  •  97,000 people given cash grants or paid for work that benefits their community
  •  63,000 people given help with household items or basic shelter
  • 18,000 people given help with livestock, or provided with seeds or farming tools.

An evaluation by independent experts published in January 2012 found that overall the early stages of the DEC-funded response by its member agencies to the crisis in East Africa was efficient and effective.  DEC member did however face considerable challenges in delivering assistance including serious issues with security and access to affected communities in southern Somalia and parts of eastern Kenya. Members will continue their support with DEC appeal funds until July 2013.  
Parts of the region are chronically vulnerable to food crises due to a combination of poverty, conflict, an arid climate and political marginalisation.   As a result, most of the DEC’s member agencies have substantial ongoing programmes in the region, including work on disaster risk reduction.
Stay up to date with developments in East Africa, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on twitter: or become a fan of ‘Disasters-Emergency-Committee-DEC’ on Facebook.  
Notes to editors:
The DEC does not generally make direct comparisons between disasters or appeals but has published a blog explaining its position and giving the appeal totals for the largest appeals in its history.

  • The DEC accounts for funds it raises itself, while its members account for funds given to them as part of a DEC appeal.  Of the £79m given to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal £40m was given to the DEC and £39m to member agencies.
  • The figure of 2.3 million people receiving DEC-funded aid is based on separate reports from each of the DEC’s 14 member agencies.  The figure does not mean that 2.3m of the more than 13m people affected by the crisis in 2011 received all the help they required.  In some instances, separate agencies will have provided different forms of help to the same individuals – for example one agency providing food and different agency providing water.  
  • During the first six months of the response £16.9m of the £40m given to the DEC directly was spent by member agencies.
  • Aid agencies working in Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world sheltering 465,000 people, are warning that without fresh funding from the international community, vital services cannot be delivered. Services affected include shelter, water and sanitation, healthcare, education and the protection of refugees. Some programmes may have to be withdrawn as early as September if funding isn't secured.
  • The DEC member agencies are: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Plan, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.