Plan acts as severe drought grips East Africa
Plan is stepping up its response in East Africa where severe drought is putting more than 10,000,000 children and adults at risk of starvation. Our teams are on the ground working with affected families, communities and local partners to avert a full-scale crisis.
Please make a donation today to help children and families facing starvation in East Africa.
Worst drought in 60 years
Consecutive years of failed rains have caused devastating losses of crops, livestock, and incomes across Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and South Sudan. Rapid assessment teams from Plan are working with affected families on what needs to be done to avert a full-scale crisis, especially as The United Nations’ humanitarian agency (OCHA) estimates that 250,000 children are seriously malnourished.
“People are on the move and in search of food, leaving behind their devastated villages and dead livestock, which for most was their only source of food or income,” said Safo Visha, Senior Program Manager, Children in Emergencies at Plan Canada. More than 1,300 people a day, the majority of them children, are arriving in the Dadaab refugee camp in eastern Kenya near the border with Somalia. The camp was already the world's largest refugee camp with a population of 350,000.
Regional Director of Plan International in Eastern and Southern Africa, Gezahegn Kebede said: "What we are seeing at Dadaab, Kenya is just the tip of the problem. There are many millions of people without enough food for themselves or their children. We’ve been working with families to prepare for annual drought – but this year is different. Combinations of persistent failed rains, dwindling resources, conflict and rising food prices have created the perfect storm."
Food assistance in Ethiopia
Plan’s response to the crisis in East Africa includes work in Ethiopia – one of the hardest hit regions by the drought. Plan has been working for years to bolster communities against multiple problems but currently the situation is dire and the immediate need is for food.
Plan teams are distributing extra food to some of the most vulnerable children and their families in Ethiopia, including milk-rich products, high-calorie oil and flour. The supplies are designed to help fight malnutrition, especially in children under 5 and mothers who are breastfeeding – among the most vulnerable of the estimated 4.5 million people in Ethiopia alone who need food aid. Additionally, Plan is distributing water, seeds, fertilizers and livestock to help rebuild farmers’ crops and aid subsistence.
Children will also be supported to remain in school with minimal disruption to their learning. Attention will be given to the specific risks faced by children, especially girls and young women.
“Girls are particularly at risk,” says Plan’s Country Director in Ethiopia, David Throp. “They’re often the first to go hungry if families don’t have enough food, and economic pressures may lead to them dropping out of school, migration and even early marriage.”
The UN has said it expects the situation to worsen due to delayed rains and escalating numbers of people. Agencies say the situation will remain challenging up to and into 2012 and will require a sustained response.
Donate today to help children and families affected by drought in East Africa.
Information for sponsors
At this time, there is no information available about how many sponsored children have been affected. We will contact sponsors directly if we receive any news about individual sponsored children.
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