Kenya + 1 more

Red Cross announces East Africa Drought Appeal

Australian Red Cross has launched an appeal to provide emergency assistance to drought-ravaged communities in Kenya and Somalia.

It is estimated that 2.4 million people in Somalia - 32 per cent of the population - require humanitarian assistance, while close to a million people are affected by the drought in Kenya, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Red Cross has been delivering water and sanitation programs in both Somalia and Kenya and has already distributed seed and tools in southern and central Somalia, including more than 300 tonnes of assorted seeds like maize and sesame in readiness for the next rainfall. Nearly 800 tonnes of fertiliser have been distributed as well as 90,000 farm tools like shovels, hoes and rakes to enable farmers to grow some food crops.

"This is shaping as the world's gravest humanitarian crisis," said Australian Red Cross CEO Robert Tickner.

"Urgent action is needed to save the lives of thousands of severely-malnourished children. The health and lives of millions of people across the region are at risk," Mr Tickner said.

Funds raised through the Australian Red Cross East Africa Drought Appeal 2011 will be used to:

  • provide drought-affected communities in Kenya & Somalia with emergency relief assistance

  • assist health, food & nutrition, livelihood and water & sanitation initiatives in affected areas

  • send specialist aid workers to assist the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement response

  • support drought risk reduction and recovery activities in affected countries.

"The world is mobilising, uniting, to support the people of East Africa. Red Cross is joining the global response," said Mr Tickner.

Donations can be made online at or by calling 1800 811 700.

Australian Red Cross will not deduct more than 10% of any donation for an international appeal to cover administration and appeals costs.

Media contacts:

Media inquiries: Michael Gillies Smith, emergency services media adviser, 0448 571 484.