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DEC agencies face £85m funding gap in East Africa

News and Press Release
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In the face of the worst drought in East Africa since the 1950’s, the agencies of the Disasters Emergency Committee said today they face a funding shortfall of more than £85m for their emergency response in the region.

The drought has withered crops, killed cattle and led to massive increases in food prices. More than 10 million people are now affected over large areas of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and the rest of the region.

The crisis has seen more than 1,300 people a day, the majority of them children, arriving in the Dadaab refugee camp in eastern Kenya near the border with Somalia. With a population of over 350,000 people, Dadaab was already the world’s largest refugee camp.

Despite the enormous challenges of reaching those affected in Somalia in particular, DEC agencies and their partners are already helping hundreds of thousands of people but their work is being severely hampered by a lack of funding.

The UK has taken a lead amongst the world’s governments with its recent promise of £38m to the World Food Programme of the UN, which will provide the food aid that many of the DEC’s members will be distributing. The UN’s own appeal is only 40% funded.

Disasters Emergency Committee Chief Executive Brendan Gormley said:

“Because the crisis has built slowly over many months the public is only just becoming aware of the gravity of the situation.”

“Access to some of the affected people will be extremely difficult but by working through local partners and in neighbouring countries many agencies are already providing life-saving help with food, water, therapeutic feeding for malnourished children and medical treatment.

“Following recent media coverage, which has helped bring the crisis to wider public attention, the DEC is now urgently reviewing the situation with its member agencies and partners against its appeal criteria.

The criteria for launching a DEC appeal are:

  • The disaster must be on such a scale and of such urgency as to call for swift international humanitarian assistance.
  • The DEC agencies, or some of them, must be in a position to provide effective and swift humanitarian assistance at a scale to justify a national appeal.
  • There must be reasonable grounds for concluding that a public appeal would be successful, either because of evidence of existing public sympathy for the humanitarian situation or because there is a compelling case indicating the likelihood of significant public support should an appeal be launched.

The DEC does not set fundraising targets for its appeals and its member agencies are continuing to pursue funding from a range of potential sources to bridge the shortfall in East Africa.

The DEC member agencies are: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.