East Africa is facing its worst food crisis for decades, following four years of failed harvests, erratic rainfall and rocketing global food prices.
Up to 20 million people in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are facing extreme hunger every day, with severe malnutrition amongst infants and young children.
Women and girls, who often eat last and least, are bearing the brunt of the emergency.
Local women, young people and ActionAid's partner organisations on the ground are leading our response, but they need urgent support to scale up their work to save lives and avert a catastrophe.
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East Africa Food Crisis Appeal: How can I help?
Your gift can help people in urgent need.
Is there a famine in East Africa right now?
There is an extreme food crisis in several parts of East Africa, as of June 2022.
Current levels of hunger projected in East Africa are not yet identified as “famine” under the internationally recognised system of measuring food insecurity.
Famine is defined as a severe level of food insecurity that results in high numbers of people dying from the consequences of not having enough food, usually children and the elderly are most at risk. But, severe food insecurity is life threatening, even before famine like conditions are identified.
If summer rains fail completely, and humanitarian food aid does not reach those most in need on time, some regions of Somalia are expected to fall into famine this year, with many mores lives at risk.
However, Kenya and Ethiopia are also facing acute food insecurity right now.
Acute food insecurity is defined when people are unable to eat enough food that puts their lives or livelihoods in immediate danger.1
These classifications are set by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) which measures food insecurity from a range of 'Level 1- minimal' to 'Level 5 - famine'.
East Africa: What is ActionAid doing to help?
ActionAid’s emergency teams are working with local partner organisations, women leaders and young people to provide live-saving food, water, and livelihoods support in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somaliland.
ActionAid is responding to the devastating humanitarian crisis in Tigray, Amhara and Afar, supporting 60,000 people with food and cash support so far, and providing dignity kits including soap and period pads for women and girls. ActionAid is also helping people to improve the health of their livestock, which they rely on for food and income.
We are setting up safe spaces to support 2,000 survivors of gender-based violence and protection services, including psychosocial counselling, medical and legal support.
Women-led disaster committees and local women’s organisations across Ethiopia are being trained in disaster management and climate adaptation to help them lead their communities’ response to the crisis.
So far, ActionAid has supported 93,330 people in Kenya. We are providing cash transfers, rehabilitating water sources and providing food to the most vulnerable families and school feeding programmes.
In Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia where ActionAid works, we are providing emergency food, and helping to build resilience in local communities by growing fruit and vegetable gardens and adopting sustainable agriculture.
More than 27,998 households have received life-saving cash assistance in Togdheer, Sanaag and Sool regions in the past couple of months.
Across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somaliland we urgently need funds to help scale up our response and to reach more people.
Why is East Africa facing its worst food crisis in decades?
The food crisis has been caused by multiple factors including the escalating effects of climate change with back-to-back droughts and locust plagues, the Covid-19 pandemic and protracted conflict.
The climate crisis is fuelling recurring droughts and erratic weather patterns, causing displacement, hunger, water shortages, malnutrition and increased poverty.
There has been widespread crop failure and death of livestock in the worst affected areas, forcing families to sell their few remaining assets at significantly low prices and leave their homes in search of food and water.
War in Ukraine
The war in Ukraine has also aggravated an already acute situation.
Rocketing global food and energy costs are disproportionally affecting those already experiencing hunger in Eastern Africa.
With crops and livestock dying or dead, people are having to rely on bought staples, which are now becoming too expensive to buy.
ActionAid’s own research into rising food prices shows that some communities are facing price increases of 163% for bread, 275% for pasta and 253% for fuel.
Hibo Aden from ActionAid Somaliland says:
The war in Ukraine affected our life. We have a drought and also inflation. The price of food and fuel has become very high. The war is adding to the problems we have.
Previously, selling one goat was enough to get food for the next month but now you can just buy two items. So yes, we are affected, and we feel the war a lot."
ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty.
Our dedicated local staff are changing the world with women and girls. We are ending violence and fighting poverty so that all women, everywhere, can create the future they want.
We operate in rural and urban communities across Asia, Africa and Latin America.
We're committed to ending the cycle of violence in communities around the world, enabling women's economic empowerment, and supporting women's and girls' rights during humanitarian crises.
Where your money goes
90% of your donation will go directly to the East Africa Food Crisis Appeal.
10% of your donation will be retained for ActionAid’s Emergency Action Fund which will only be used for ensuring we are prepared and able to respond quickly and more effectively to future emergencies and crises.
If the total amount raised for this appeal exceeds the funds needed for the response, ActionAid will transfer the remaining balance to the Emergency Action Fund. All Gift Aid claimed on donations will fund ActionAid’s work across the world, wherever the need is greatest.
A woman walks past dead cattle on the outskirt of Dahably village in Wajir county in Kenya. ED RAM/ AFP / Getty Images.
Page updated 24 June 2022