Aid agencies issue drought appeal

Skip to content Skip to local navigation Skip to navigation Skip to search Help Accessibility Help BBC News UK Home UK Africa Asia-Pac Europe Latin America Mid-East South Asia US & Canada Business Health Sci/Environment Tech Entertainment Video England Northern Ireland Scotland Wales UK Politics Education Magazine 8 July 2011Last updated at 07:59 GMT Share this page Delicious Digg Facebook reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Email Print East Africa drought: DEC appeals for funds Children walk down a dusty street in Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya on July 4, 2011. More than 1,300 people a day are arriving at the Dadaab Refugee camp A group of UK aid agencies has launched a joint fund-raising appeal to help more than 10 million people affected by severe drought in the Horn of Africa.

Thousands of families in desperate need of food and water have trekked for days from Somalia to the Dadaab refugee camp in eastern Kenya.

The drought is the worst in East Africa for 60 years and the UN described it as a “humanitarian emergency”.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal will be broadcast by the BBC.

Continue reading the main storyDisasters Emergency Committee DEC is an umbrella organisation representing a number of aid agencies. Participants in the appeal include ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Cafod, Care International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision. To make a donation call 0370 60 60 900, text ‘CRISIS’ to 70000 to donate £5, post a donation to PO Box 999 London EC3A 3AA Disasters Emergency CommitteeHorn of Africa tested by severe droughtSomalia’s starving pour into violent city Comedian Lenny Henry will front the BBC TV appeal while broadcaster Kate Adie will voice the radio version.

The DEC said more than 1,300 people a day were arriving in the Dadaab camp – already thought to be the world’s largest, with a population of 350,000.

A similar number are crossing into Ethiopia, aid workers say.

Many of those reaching the camps are severely malnourished children, some of whom have died soon after arriving.

‘Duty to help’

“Slowly but surely, these people have seen their lives fall apart – crops, livestock and now their homes have been taken by the drought,” DEC chief executive Brendan Gormley said.

Continue reading the main story#main-content.story .layout-block-a .story-body #ss-africa_drought.story-feature{ width: 304px;}h2.dslideshow-header{padding-left: 8px;}#ss-africa_drought.story-feature div.dslideshow-entries dl.dslideshow-entry p{padding-left: 8px;font-weight: bold;}div.dslideshow-entries{margin-top: -33px;}div#ss-africa_drought{border: 1px solid #BDBDBD;} Extended drought is causing a severe food crisis in the Horn of Africa, which includes Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. Weather conditions over the Pacific means the rains have failed for two seasons and are unlikely to return until September.Food shortages are affecting up to 12 million people. The UN has not declared a famine but large areas of the region are now classified as in crisis or emergency, with malnutrition affecting up to 35-40% of children under five. The humanitarian problem is made worse by ongoing conflicts, which means that until July militant groups had only allowed aid organisations limited access to large parts of southern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia.Since the beginning of 2011, around 15,000 Somalis each month have fled into refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia looking for food and water. The refugee camp at Dadaab, in Kenya, has been overwhelmed by 370,000 people. Farmers unable to meet their basic food costs are abandoning their herds. High cereal and fuel prices had already forced them to sell many animals before the drought and their smaller herds are now unprofitable or dying.The refugee problem may have been preventable. However, violent conflict in the region has deterred international investment in long-term development programmes, which may have reduced the effects of the drought.Development aid would focus on reducing deforestation, topsoil erosion and overgrazing and improving water conservation. New roads and infrastructure for markets would help farmers increase their profits. The result of climate conditions, conflict and lack of investment is that 6.7 million people in Kenya and Ethiopia are currently existing on food rations, and relief agencies estimate 2.6 million in Somalia will need assistance a new emergency operation. BACK{current} of {total}NEXT “They’ve been left with no alternative but to seek shelter and lifesaving help elsewhere.

“We have a duty to help quickly before the situation spirals out of control.”

The UK has pledged £38m ($61m) in food aid to drought-hit Ethiopia – enough to feed 1.3m people for three months.

The DEC appeal will help people in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and South Sudan, which will officially separate from the Republic of Sudan on 9 July.

“Of course these people need a long-term solution with investment and political will – but right now it’s about preventing a tragedy,” said Mr Gormley.

Aid agencies, including the Kenyan Red Cross, the Somali Red Crescent and Action Aid, are being helped by local groups to access remote areas with food, water and medical treatment.

More on This Story Related Stories Horn of Africa tested by severe drought 04 JULY 2011, AFRICA UK aid for drought-hit Ethiopia 03 JULY 2011, UK Somalia: Counting the cost of anarchy 26 JANUARY 2011, AFRICA Somalia’s starving pour into violent city 18 JUNE 2011, FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT From other news sites Daily Star Agencies in Africa drought appealFull Story 9 hrs ago The Economist* Hunger in the Horn of Africa: Once more unto the abyss 16 hrs ago Scottish Sun Plea to avert East Africa ‘tragedy’ 18 hrs ago Agencies in Africa drought appeal 27 hrs ago Boston Globe* Triangle of hunger batters millions Africa’s Horn 39 hrs ago About these results* May require registration or subscription Related Internet links Disasters Emergency Committee The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

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