Donations from the UK public to the DEC Appeal to help people suffering from severe food shortages in East Africa, has reached a total of £13 million today.
Parts of East Africa have been hit by a drought described as the worst in 60 years. Cattle and crops have been devastated and the coming harvest is expected to be very poor in many areas.
At least 10 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and the newly-formed Republic of South Sudan have been left in need of food, water and emergency healthcare.
Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee Brendan Gormley said:
"To date our members and their partners have reached more than three million people at risk and provided them with life-saving, emergency assistance.
"The more money we raise the more lives we can save in the short term, and the more help we can give people to rebuild their lives in the long term. It's vital that people keep giving."
The DEC is grateful for the support of the BBC, ITV, ITN and Radio Centre for creating and broadcasting appeal adverts, as well as all the TV and radio networks who are covering the appeal. Their support prompts the public interest and shows people the many easy ways to give.
In Kenya, more than 1,400 people a day, eighty per cent of whom are women and children, continue to arrive in the Dadaab refugee camp near the border with Somalia. Many arrive after days or weeks of walking.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee Somalia due to the drought and conflict. DEC member agencies are hopeful the recent announcement by armed group al Shabab to lift restrictions on aid agencies could pave the way to providing greater assistance in country to many more families.
Rising food prices, even in cities and towns, across the region have also added to the food crisis. Many families have been left unable to afford even one proper meal.
The DEC East Africa Appeal has been presented by actor Jason Isaacs, actor and comedian Lenny Henry, broadcaster and journalist Kate Adie, and actress Fay Ripley.
To make a donation to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal visit http://www.dec.org.uk, call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word CRISIS to 70000.
Stay up to date with developments in East Africa, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on Twitter: http://twitter.com/decappeal or become a fan of 'Disasters-Emergency-Committee-DEC' on Facebook.
Notes to editors:
- The DEC member agencies are: 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 postal donation make cheques payable to 'DEC and mail to 'PO Box 999, London, EC3A 3AA'.
- Donations can be made at any high street bank.
- Donate at a Post Office by quoting Freepay 1562.
- To donate £5 by text send the word CRISIS to 70000. The full £5 will go to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal. Donors must be 16 years or over and have bill payers permission. Texts are free and donations will be added to the bill.
Longer term work
In addition to our immediate response in the face of this current food crisis CARE International emphasises the need to tackle the long-term, underlying causes of poverty. We have been present in the region for over 25 years and are helping families to break the cycle of hunger and to adapt to the changing climate and recurring droughts.
Our ongoing work in the region includes:
- Maintenance, protection and development of water points and wells.
- Working with women in Mandera, Kenya to revive traditional food preservation techniques.
- Vaccination of animals to prevent diseases breaking out as they congregate at remaining water points.
- Helping families have more consistent sources of income by supporting them in diversifying their work.