One million people could die – and no one is talking about it
Right now, children are starving to death in South Sudan. This is the first time famine has been declared anywhere in the world in the last six years.
This terrible famine will spread quickly without a big international response.
And yet it’s the famine that no one is talking about.
East Africa is in the grip of an intense drought. Not one, but two seasons of poor rainfall have wiped out crops and killed livestock Our partners on the ground told us that people are eating leaves to survive. Cattle are dying. Women are digging holes in the dry earth in an attempt to find water.
Rivers and lakes are dry. The poorest families have sold the few possessions they own and have nothing left. Without emergency food aid, they will die.
The conflicts in South Sudan and Somalia have made the situation worse, forcing families from their homes, and leaving mothers struggling to keep their babies alive.
Who is most affected by this drought?
Extensive crop failures and record low vegetation, together with significant livestock deaths across Somalia, southern and eastern Ethiopia, and northern and coastal Kenya have put millions of people at risk of starvation.
As the situation in Somalia rapidly deteriorates, it is likely to be the next nation declared to be in a state of famine.
One million people could die of hunger without urgent aid.
And it’s children who are suffering most. Their tiny bodies just can’t cope without food for long. In 10 out of 24 refugee camps in Ethiopia, malnutrition has reached emergency levels.
How critical is it?
The El Niño-induced East African drought has led to extensive crop failures and record low vegetation, together with significant livestock deaths.
The drought right now is as bad as it was in 2011, when widespread famine in the Horn of Africa caused more than a quarter of a million people died, half of them children.
We’re at risk of that catastrophe repeating.
Our partners are on the ground, distributing emergency food aid and water supplies, but the scale of the crisis is truly staggering, and there’s just not enough money to meet the need.
Why isn’t it in the news?
A lot of media coverage lately has focused on events unfolding in the United States, and they've drowned out almost any coverage of the famine.
Humanitarian agencies rely heavily on the media to raise awareness of crises. Right now, millions face starvation, but the world is turning away.
Jesse in Uganda, one of Act for Peace’s partners on the ground who is supporting the thousands of refugees arriving at his camp each day, asked “How many people have to die until the international community wakes up
There’s not enough money to help everyone. We have to use special measuring tapes to identify which children to feed, and which we can’t.
I want to act now. What can I do to help?
Together, we can prevent the worst of this crisis - but only if we all play our part.
It will take a big international response. That’s why Act for Peace is working closely with our ACT Alliance partners around the world, to raise funds and coordinate our lifesaving work on the ground.
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