East Africa crisis

A child in the remote village of Riak in South Sudan where CARE provided nutrition support and vaccinations to local villagers and internally displaced people

Up to 20 million people across East Africa are on the brink of starvation. They urgently need food and water supplies.

Watch Nyamuch and Elizabeth, two mothers in South Sudan, tell the heartbreaking stories of how they struggle to find enough food for their children:

This is no ordinary drought. It’s the worst ever experienced in the Sool region since 1974.

Sirad Umar Bayr, a woman in Somaliland, describes how the worst drought in her lifetime has driven people from their homes in search of water - and only the strongest can make the journey:

The crisis in brief

  • As a result of conflict, prolonged drought and economic decline, up to 16 million people are severely food insecure across the eastern Africa region.
  • An estimated 5.5 million people across South Sudan are facing severe food insecurity, including some 1.46 million on the brink of famine.
  • Famine is a strong possibility in Somalia - drought conditions are worsening and food crops are failing. We must act now to prevent a famine from happening.
  • Parts of Kenya and south eastern Ethiopia are in the grip of severe drought.
  • Drought emergency has been declared in 23 of 47 counties in Kenya, with 3.4 million people estimated to be food insecure and in need of assistance.
  • In Ethiopia at least 7.8 million people could face critical food shortages from the end of July 2017 onwards.
  • Women and girls are most vulnerable as often they eat last and least.
  • Healthcare facilities in the region are overstretched by multiple disease outbreaks including measles, cholera, avian influenza and malaria.
  • Conflict in South Sudan, parts of Sudan and Somalia is aggravating food insecurity and causing displacement, which brings the number of refugees to nearly 4 million. 

Watch this short video from Suzy Madigan, CARE International UK's Conflict and Humanitarian Policy Advisor, explaining direct from Somalia what the drought actually means for people there:

What we are doing

  • In South Sudan, CARE is providing crucial humanitarian assistance, including emergency nutrition, water, sanitation, health, hygiene, education and protection support. We aim to reach 450,000 people over the next 18 months.
  • CARE Somalia has reached 540,0000 people in Somaliland, Puntland and south central Somalia with clean water, food and cash assistance, but further assistance is needed up to the end of 2017 to prevent further deterioration in the food security and nutrition conditions.

Watch this short video from Suzy Madigan explaining how CARE is helping in Somalia:

  • In any crisis, women and girls are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition as well as gender-based violence. In Puntland, CARE is providing medical and psychological support to an increasing number of rape survivors and working with communities to improve protection and reduce risks.
  • In Ethiopia, CARE has supported over one million drought affected people with clean water, food, seeds and cash.
  • In Kenya, CARE is helping families with water treatment chemicals and rehabilitating existing boreholes.

Rahma Ali, 31 years old, Sool region​ (Somalia):

We have lost all our livestock. We have no other source of income. We have no other skills. We can’t find or buy water. My children and I are at high risk of exhaustion and starvation.

For more information, read CARE's East Africa Fact Sheet

Read the latest stories from CARE’s emergency response in East Africa.

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