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East Africa crisis appeal

There are currently 15 million people going hungry in the region and 4 million have fled their homes due to drought.

This is food crisis fast spiralling out of control and urgent action is needed. South Sudanese are fleeing violence only to face a renewed threat from hunger. You can help.

Oxfam is there with life-saving support, we have reached 1.8 million people.  but we urgently need your help to do more.

You can help: Donate now 

Last updated: 04/09/18

Bruno Bierrenbach Feder/Oxfam

George* sits on his mother's lap as health personnel take his measurements to determine his nutrition level. Nyal, Unity State, South Sudan  - March 2017.

*Name changed

The situation

More than 22 million people are affected by the drought East Africa, and at least 15 million are going hungry.

The drought has caused crops to fail and cattle to die while the lack of clean water increases the threat of cholera and other diseases. Brutal war in South Sudan has driven more than three million people from their homes and left millions more in need of emergency food. There have been over 43,000 cases of acute watery diarrhoea in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. 

On top of a food crisis, the region has been hit by the worst flooding in 30 years. Significant rain has fallen on drought-stricken ground causing 1.5 million people to be affected.

For the first time since 2011, famine has been declared in the worst affected areas. 

In Ethiopia this year, an estimated 300,000 children will become severely acutely malnourished at least nine million people are expected not have a regular supply of safe drinking water. Over 7 million people are severely food insecure in the country. Nearly 1 million people have been displaced in Gedeo, Ethiopia due to ethnic conflict.

In Kenya, over two million people are considered severely at risk. There have been some rains but the food security situation remains unchanged in the short-term.

In Somalia, more than six million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and parts of the country are on the brink of famine. Many people are relying on limited water sources which are unprotected and unsafe, exposing them to disease. The water shortage has led to reported increases in acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) and cholera.

In South Sudan, almost five million people  are facing extreme hunger, and over 60% of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance; a humanitarian crisis driven by three years of a brutal civil war. 

Without immediate action, this crisis will get worse. We need to act now to save lives.

Kieran Doherty

Mobile water source at Imvepi Settlement, Uganda. 

More than one million people have fled the brutal conflict in South Sudan and taken refuge in neighbouring Uganda in places like Bidibidi the largest refugee settlement in the world - home to over 270,000 South Sudanese refuges.


Bruno Bierrenbach Feder/Oxfam

Tabitha with her daughter who is sucking on a dry 'tuok' (a dry seed). She says, "We feed on water lilies, 'keay', fish and anything we could find in the river."

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Oxfam's response

  • Oxfam has assisted 1.8 million people with humanitarian assistance
  • Over 1.2 million people have been provided clean water
  • 265,000 people have received cash from Oxfam
  • 2.8 million animals have been vaccinated

In Ethiopia we have assisted over 800,000 people. We have provided water in 21 districts including in displacement camps. We have rehabilitated 56 boreholes and drilled 14 new ones. 209,000 people have also benefited from cash assistance from Oxfam

Oxfam has assisted 140,000 people in Somaliland with safe and clean water. In Kenya we have reached 660,000 people with assistance in Turkana and Wajir. This includes water to over 600,000 people and 36,000 people have received cash.

Oxfam is now responding to flooding across the region. This includes water, sanitation, food and livelihoods assistance.

What is famine?

UN experts declare a famine when:

  • at least 20% of the population faces extreme food deficits
  • global acute malnutrition exceeds 30%
  • and the death rate exceeds two people out of every 10,000 per day for the entire population.

Mark Goldring (CEO, Oxfam GB, 2013-18) on the reasons for the famine in East Africa

Other ways to help