Home > Africa, famines > Africa drought leaves 10 million facing famine and disease

Africa drought leaves 10 million facing famine and disease

July 5, 2011


The worst drought for 60 years is threatening more than ten million people with starvation and disease in eastern Africa, aid workers are warning.

Africa drought Refugees at a food distribution point in Dadaab – the world’s largest refugee camp (Pic: AFP/Getty)

A severe dry spell and wrecked harvests in parts of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Uganda have caused what charities described as ‘the worst food crisis of the 21st century’, prompting multimillion-pound aid demands.

Save The Children is launching a £40million emergency appeal to help thousands of malnourished children, while Oxfam is calling for £50million.

The lack of water and supplies has pushed food prices up by 240 per cent, worsening conditions for those struggling to survive. More than half of those needingemergency food aid are thought to be children.

Fatuma 16, holds her son Ibrahim, six weeks, in the stabilisation centre for severely malnourished children in Wajir, Kenya (Pic: Save The Children)

Families are resorting to desperate measures to feed their children and cattle – even giving livestock the thatched roofs from their homes.

United Nations officials say the region is the driest it has been since a similar drought in 1950 and 1951.

Parts of Somalia and Kenya have not seen any rainfall for the past two years, according to the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The arid conditions have seen up to 60 per cent of livestock die, with farmers often unable to sell what weakened cattle remain alive.

Matt Croucher, Save The Children’s regional emergency manager, said: ‘Thousands of children could starve if we don’t get life-saving help to them fast.’

Oxfam’s humanitarian director, Jane Cocking, said millions of people were in a ‘fight for survival’.

The British government announced on Sunday it would give Ethiopia £38million to help feed an estimated 1.3million starving people.

But aid agencies have received only about half of the aid money they need for Kenya and Somalia.

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