Monday 4 July
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The British Red Cross today launched its East Africa Food Crisis Appeal to help some of the more than ten million people in the Horn of Africa region currently facing severe drought.
Complex factors including conflict, cripplingly high food prices and some of the driest weather in 60 years have combined to create conditions where millions of people are not getting enough to eat.
Areas of Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Uganda are all affected.
"Because of the drought we’re seeing crop failures and widespread deaths of livestock, and, coupled with increasing food prices, people simply aren’t able to get enough to eat," said Barry Armstrong, British Red Cross disaster response Manager.
The numbers of refugees leaving Somalia for Kenya and Ethiopia have grown from 5,000 a month to more than 30,000 in the second week in June, further stretching resources, with almost half the children arriving in Ethiopia from Somalia malnourished.
"When people are leaving their homes due to lack of food, we’re in a very serious situation," said Mary Atkinson, British Red Cross food security advisor.
"It means they’re giving up their livelihoods, which is very much a last resort and a potential early warning sign for a famine."
The British Red Cross has already given more than £400,000 to support work in east Africa over the last 18 months, but further funds are urgently needed as the situation worsens.
To support the British Red Cross East Africa Food Crisis Appeal visit
www.redcross.org.uk/foodcrisis or call 0845 054 7200.
Money raised from the appeal will go to support the work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in the region, both providing emergency aid, helping people recover their livelihoods, and supporting resilience against future crises.
"The region is in an extreme situation where it urgently needs more funds to address both emergency needs and underlying vulnerability. This is a long-term, chronic situation," added Armstrong.
Notes to editors
The Red Cross has acted early to mitigate the impact of drought in Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.
The Kenyan Red Cross is working on projects such as borehole rehabilitation, distribution of high quality seeds, protecting livestock herds, health services, and providing food to children in schools.
Meanwhile, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has provided mobile health teams, nutritional support for mothers and children and better access to water in Somalia.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has built two large water tanks able to collect 100,000 litres of water each in northern Kenya. These tanks will provide water for 5,000 people. An additional water point has been built for pastoralists and their livestock.
In Somalia earlier this month, the ICRC distributed seeds and tools in southern and central parts of the country. Over 300 tonnes of maize, sorghum, cowpea and sesame seeds and nearly 800 tonnes of fertilizer were distributed, as well as 30,000 shovels, 30,000 hoes and 30,000 rakes, to over 95,000 people in ten provinces.
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies
in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on
with their lives.
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For more information on the British Red Cross please visit: http://www.redcross.org.uk