Joint NGO statement on the Horn of Africa hunger crisis

Animal carcass
Dead livestock lies on the outskirts of North Horr, Marsabit, Kenya, 21/12/2021. Photo: Ed Ram/Concern Worldwide

One of the worst droughts in a generation is currently unfolding in the Horn of Africa, combined with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, exponentially high food prices, desert locusts and protracted armed conflict.

Over 15 million people across Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya - about half of them children - are already on the verge of starvation. Furthermore, the conflict in Ukraine is set to worsen catastrophic levels of hunger in the coming months. 

5.7 million children are expected to be acutely malnourished and families are taking extreme measures to survive across the region, with women and girls often eating the last and the least. Nearly 745,000 people in Somalia have already been displaced this year in search of water, food, and pasture.

We must act immediately to save lives, protect livelihoods and prevent this tragedy from worsening. People in the Horn of Africa are looking to us for action, not sympathy or words of support.

Anushree Rao - Director of Policy and Campaigns, Concern Worldwide

Whilst we welcome the UK Government’s uplift of £25 million for Somalia, we are disappointed that this falls well under its fair share of urgent funding to prevent starvation and death for millions across the Horn of Africa. 

We’re calling on the UK Government to urgently commit £750m of new and additional humanitarian and development funding to ensure that we do not see a repeat of 2011, during which, the Horn saw the worst hunger crisis this century resulting in the deaths of over a quarter of a million people. 

The worst impacts of the crisis are preventable if we act now. This means scaling up adequate funding for anticipation, immediate response and livelihood recovery. We urge the UK Government to galvanise the international community and commit to providing the necessary funding to tackle this crisis. 

Anushree Rao, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Concern said: "Our teams on the ground across the Horn of Africa have witnessed this catastrophe unfolding over recent months. Now, we fear the situation will only worsen because of a lack of rainfall and the impact of the Ukraine conflict on rising food costs.

"The 2011 famine in Somalia taught the global community a harsh lesson about urgent action, which helped us avert a famine in 2017. This time, yet again we have been too slow to act. The funding commitments today at the High Level Round Table on the Horn of Africa drought are far from enough to save the 15 million people across the region who are at severe risk.

"We must act immediately to save lives, protect livelihoods and prevent this tragedy from worsening. People in the Horn of Africa are looking to us for action, not sympathy or words of support."

This statement has been signed on by:

  • Action Against Hunger UK
  • Mercy Corps
  • World Vision UK
  • CAFOD
  • Christian Aid 
  • Concern Worldwide UK
  • Plan International UK
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Save the Children UK
  • Norwegian Refugee Council
NFI materials being distributed by Concern in masisi, DRC. Photo: Kieran McConville/Concern Worldwide

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