East Africa Crisis Appeal

Millions of people across East Africa are still suffering from the effects of the worst drought in 60 years. With malnutrition a chronic problem in the region, more than 13 million people were hit hard by the drought, with Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia among the countries impacted the most severely. Without water, crops failed, livestock died and food prices skyrocketed.

Short supply of food

Throughout the second half of 2011, famine spread through southern Somalia, taking its highest toll on children. Rains in 2012 began to alleviate the drought, but food remains in short supply. Flooding added to the suffering of displaced families, and illnesses spread rapidly through the weakened population.

How Islamic Relief is responding

The Islamic Relief family is collectively responding through the Islamic Relief offices in East Africa, which have been delivering assistance for this particular effort since July 2011. So far, Islamic Relief has helped delivered the following:

  • In Somaliland we are drilling 15 new wells to supply year-round clean water to more than 100,000 people.
  • In Ethiopia, we’re appealing for a £2.2m livestock restocking programme to supply almost 6,000 families with 10 goats each.
  • In Somalia, a £1m recovery programme will plough farmland and supply farming tools, seeds and goats to 3,000 households, as well as bringing 10 underground tanks to capture rainfall back into use.
  • In Malawi, a £174,000 food and farming programme will deliver food parcels to 1,500 households, provide 500 packs of seed and fertilisers, 100 water pumps for irrigation and 12 training programmes in conservative agriculture and environmental protection to build resilience against El Niño climate fluctuations and climate change in general.

Why your help is needed

East Africa is in the grip of a severe drought. Two successive years of below-average rainfall (caused by one of the worst El Niños in history) have left some parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Malawi, Sudan and South Sudan facing their worst drought in decades.

Entire harvests have been wiped out and nomadic farmers who move with the seasons in search of water and fertile land have watched their livestock die before being left stranded with nothing. Now, the erratic downpours of the all-too-short rainy season mean some communities are facing drought and flash flooding simultaneously, as well as struggling with the spread of water-borne diseases. The forecast offers no relief, with warnings that conditions could get worse through 2016.

In Somalia urgent action is needed to avoid repeating the mistakes of 2011-2012 when famine claimed the lives of 250,000 people. Half of these people were already casualties before the famine was declared, proving we cannot wait for the label of “famine” to be applied before we take action.


At a glance…

  • 3 million people are in need of urgent assistance in Somalia.
  • The main needs have been identified as food, water, food and water for livestock, nutrition for children and health intervention in relation to cholera and water-borne diseases.
  • 2 million people in Somalia are classed in the most critical category- if there is no rain in March, famine will be declared in the country in April.
  • 6 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia
  • The main needs have been identified as: water, food and livestock feeds.
  • The situation in Ethiopia is critical and is deteriorating rapidly.
  • 3 million people are in urgent need of assistance in Kenya
  • 23 out of 47 counties in Kenya have been affected by the drought.
  • The situation is rapidly deteriorating.
  • Islamic Relief Kenya is operational in the affected areas of Wajir,Mandera and Garisa counties.
  • The main needs in Kenya have been identified as food, water and nutrition.
  • Conflict has been occurring since 2013- there was a spike in violence in July 2016 which resulted in significant displacement of affected communities.
  • 5 million people in South Sudan are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance- this is 50% of the total population of the country.
  • The South Sudanese government has declared famine in 1 out of the country’s 10 states: Unity.
  • There has been a surge of refugees into Sudan over the last few months. Over 700,000 refugees arrived in Sudan from mid-2016.
  • In the last 2 months, over 32,000 people have fled South Sudan into Sudan.
  • Roughly 2.2 million IDPs from Darfur continue to be dependent on humanitarian assistance.
  • The main needs in Sudan have been identified as: food, nutrition, health and water and sanitation.

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