13 December 2022

British Red Cross calls for action as Somalia faces catastrophic levels of hunger

Sam Turner, head of East and Southern Africa Region at the British Red Cross, said:  

“The food crisis in Somalia is like nothing we have seen before and this latest IPC data shows the number of people in Somalia facing catastrophic levels of hunger will triple to 727,000 over the next six months. We are now in a desperate race against the clock to save lives, with early forecasts showing that an unprecedented sixth season of failed rains is expected. The worst droughts in decades have been exacerbated by climate change and have left the land bone dry. Crops can’t grow and livestock are dying. This isn't just the case for Somalia; across Africa there are more than 146 million people struggling without the food they need. These are resilient communities who are being pushed to breaking point. 

“Global leaders know that investing in bold, long-lasting, preventative solutions to tackle the root causes of hunger could have averted this crisis but the global response has been inadequate and people are now fighting for their lives. The situation is bleak, but there is still hope. Five years ago we pulled together to avert a vast catastrophe and with swift, emergency action, lives can be saved again.”
The British Red Cross is asking for donations to its Africa Food Crisis appeal to help local Red Cross teams reach communities with food, water, and healthcare. 

Notes to editors  

What the Red Cross is doing:   

The Somali Red Crescent has supported around 200,000 families in their drought response through mobile health clinics in the most affected areas, and financial assistance to buy food and essential items. They are also providing clean water and immunisations to prevent the spread of disease amongst the worst affected areas, and are scaling up to reach 560,000 more people.  

The Ethiopian Red Cross has been supporting people most affected by the food crisis to meet their basic needs by providing financial assistance and food, modern farm tools and drought-resistant seeds and fertiliser to support people to maintain their livelihoods, alongside psychosocial support and protection services. They are planning to support 500,000 people in the most affected communities.   

In north-eastern Kenya, the Kenyan Red Cross has supported more than 520,000 people as part of its drought response so far and is working to support 500,000 more people from the worst affected communities. They are providing food, safe and clean drinking water as well as health support and livestock support, alongside financial assistance.   

The Nigerian Red Cross is one of the lead responders in the country, supporting people affected by the food crisis. They are scaling up to reach over a million people in affected communities in the North West and North Central states through food distribution, financial assistance, and support with essential household items, as well as drought resistant seeds and tools for growing food. They’re also supporting with health services such as water and sanitation support and recently mobilised 5,000 volunteers and staff to respond to the worst floods the country had experienced in decades.