Oxfam launches emergency appeal for East Africa food crisis

"This may become the worst food crisis of the 21st century,” said Hasnat Ahsan, humanitarian officer at Oxfam Canada. “Large numbers of lives could soon be lost."

July 5, 2011

Oxfam Canada today appealed for the public’s support to respond to a massive food crisis affecting more than 12 million people across Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. The agency is seeking to raise enough funding to reach three million people in dire need of clean water, food and basic sanitation.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO OXFAM CANADA"S EAST AFRICA FOOD CRISIS FUND

"This may become the worst food crisis of the 21st century,” said Hasnat Ahsan, humanitarian officer at Oxfam Canada. “Large numbers of lives could soon be lost."

“Two years in a row of poor rains have pushed 12 million people into a fight for survival,” Ahsan said. “People have already lost virtually everything and the crisis is only going to get worse over the coming months."

The epicentre of the drought is an area straddling the borders of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia where families rely heavily on livestock for survival. In some parts of the region, up to 60 percent of their herds have died and the remainder is sick or dangerously underweight. The price of animals has plummeted by half while the cost of cereals has soared. In Somalia the price of a main staple, sorghum, has risen by 240 percent since this time last year.

Malnutrition rates in that region are worse than emergency levels - in some places five times higher than crisis threshold. In Dolo Ado, a camp in southern Ethiopia for Somali refugees, malnutrition rates are the highest recorded in this region since the 1990s.

"The aid effort faces enormous hurdles. Because food and transport prices have shot up, it will take more funding to buy food in the quantities required and to transport it to the needy," said Ahsan.

In Kenya, Oxfam aims to help 1.3 million people with clean water, cash and veterinary support. In Somalia, Oxfam will expand its work in clean water, hygiene promotion and veterinary drugs to support three quarters of a million people. In Ethiopia, the agency aims to reach approximately one million people with clean water, basic sanitation and veterinary support.

For more information, please contact:

Katia Gianneschi
katia.ginaneschi@oxfam.ca

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO OXFAM CANADA"S EAST AFRICA FOOD CRISIS FUND

Recognizing the huge scale of need in East Africa and the need to work collectively to bring urgent assistance to people suffering from drought and food shortages in the region, Oxfam Canada is also proud to participate in the HUMANITARIAN COALITION.  By joining our efforts, the members of the HUMANITARIAN COALITION are able to save more lives and reduce the costs of fundraising.  Click here to find out more.