Many of the world’s poorest people rely on farming for food and income. But extreme weather conditions caused by El Niño, and the impact of climate change, mean that millions of people are going hungry in countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Families already living on the margins of survival are struggling to get the food and clean water they desperately need.
Over three million children are dying every year from hunger.
Flooding in Bangladesh
Fatema’s small hut in Bangladesh flooded constantly, with rising water and storms made more frequent and more powerful by climate change.
Her baby boy got diarrhoea from the dirty water, and the few crops she was able to grow for her family were completely destroyed.
“There was no clean water so we had to use the water we had, that’s how my son got ill,” she said. “My stomach would ache with hunger.”
Drought in Somaliland
On the other side of the world, Malyuun worries desperately about parched fields and dried up wells in her village in Somaliland. The prolonged drought, caused by El Niño, has killed most of her livestock and withered two harvests.
Malyuun skips meals to give her children more food. Still, she dreads having to put her children to bed, because they cry from hunger.
“One night, they couldn’t sleep, they were all crying,” she said. “I ended up crying with them.”
Help stop children going hungry
ActionAid is helping women like Fatema and Malyuun feed their children.
In the short term, we are giving emergency food aid including rice, wheat and milk, to families.
But we must do more. In the long term, ActionAid is working with women to give them the tools and training they need to adapt to changing weather and build a better life for their children.
We are supporting hundreds of thousands of people with innovative farming methods, including seeds that can survive and grow in salty soil, and livestock specially bred to survive higher temperatures.
In Bangladesh, we have raised villages above the flood level, so that families like Fatema’s can grow nourishing food safely. Since moving, Fatema’s children eat three meals a day. “I don’t feel fear now,” Fatema said. “Since moving here I dream about my son’s future. I didn’t have that hope before.”
In Somaliland, we are helping communities store precious water by building cement water tanks, and giving out rubber groundsheets to stop the water from evaporating. For Malyuun, her water tank is a life saver: “When the rain comes, we have a place to save the water,” she said.