05 September 2022

Statement - Millions struggling without the food they need across Sub-Saharan Africa

In a press briefing today, the UN humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, warned that "famine is at the door" in Somalia. In response Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said:

“Right now, more than 140 million people are struggling without the food they need across Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and beyond. We are fast approaching a catastrophic situation. That means people will be at breaking point, having exhausted every avenue to try and feed their families. Humanitarian agencies are working around the clock to help bring people back from this precipice, but we cannot do it alone.

“The worst droughts in decades have left lands bone dry. Crops can’t grow, livestock are dying, and soaring prices are pushing basic food items out of reach. With the right support we can get help to where it’s desperately needed. The British Red Cross is raising urgent funds - donations to our appeal, and more investment from governments, will help local teams reach communities with food, water, and healthcare. These basics are genuinely lifesaving right now. We came together in 2017 to avert a catastrophe in this region, we can, and must, do this again.”

The British Red Cross is asking for donations to its Africa Food Crisis appeal.

Notes to editors

For further information or to request an interview, please contact the British Red Cross Press Office: press@redcross.org.uk / 0207 877 7557 

Out of hours - 07710 391 703

What the Red Cross is doing

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, farm tools, seeds and fertiliser to support people to maintain their livelihoods, alongside psychosocial support and protection services. They are scaling up their response to support an additional 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 will be scaling up to reach more of the most affected communities in the North West and North Central states through food distribution, financial assistance, and support with essential household items, as well as seeds and tools for growing food. They’re also supporting with health services such as water and sanitation support.

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.