In an urgent response to the crisis in East Africa, the Bishops’ Appeal has launched an emergency appeal to raise funds for Christian Aid Ireland and Tearfund Ireland, who are working with partners in the regions to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance. It is appealing for contributions from parishes and individuals throughout Ireland to help with the disaster relief efforts.
Hunger on a massive scale is looming across South Sudan, northern Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, as a combination of drought and conflict have left nearly 20 million people severely food insecure – meaning that they do not have enough food to feed themselves. Kenya and Ethiopia are also on the verge of crisis, with millions in need of humanitarian assistance.
Across these countries, people are in critical need of food, water and health support, with women and children suffering the most. The United Nations has referred to this as the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945, and we cannot stand by and allow the suffering to continue.
South Sudan has been engulfed in a vast humanitarian crisis since violence broke out in 2013. Over 3.4 million people have fled their homes and the land they farmed. Drought in parts of the country has worsened the effects of the ongoing conflict. Nearly five million people do not have enough food and close to 100,000 are in imminent danger of death by starvation.
The crisis in northern Nigeria is one of the most complex and most serious in the world right now. Conflict has forced around two million people from their homes and over five million people do not have enough food, including 2.5 million children under five and their mothers. Around half a million malnourished children could die if they do not get food and medical care immediately.
In Somalia, the main problem now is drought. The country has had less than half its normal rainfall for nearly three years. Crops have withered and animals have died. Experts warn that, without immediate scale up in humanitarian assistance, a situation worse than that of the 2011 famine could unravel in the next few months. So far, nearly 3 million people are severely food insecure.
More people are severely food insecure in Yemen – a staggering 7 million – than anywhere else in the world. Over two million have fled their homes because of ongoing fighting, and two-thirds of them live with host families.
In Kenya, the government declared a national emergency and asked for international support earlier in February 2017. Following the short-rain assessment in January 2017, the number of food insecure people in Kenya has doubled to 2.7 million compared to 1.3 million in August 2016.
Ethiopia is facing the worst drought in half a century and some 5.6 million people require food assistance this year.
Parish and individual donations are encouraged and greatly appreciated at this time. Dates for Parish responses can be chosen locally over the coming weeks and proceeds sent to: Bishops’ Appeal, Church of Ireland House, Church Avenue, Rathmines, Dublin 6.
Queries should be directed to Bishops’ Appeal Diocesan Representatives or to the Education Advisor, Alexandra Reihill firstname.lastname@example.org