The world is facing the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945 as 20 million people face starvation in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. The UN has already declared famine in South Sudan, the world’s first since 2011, with 40 per cent of the population in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

‘People will simply starve to death and many more will suffer and die from disease without collective and coordinated global efforts’ urged UN Under-secretary for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien in The Guardian this month.

There has already been a concerted effort from charities all over the world, including here in the UK, to try and alleviate the situation in East Africa, Yemen and Nigeria.

As well as separate, independent appeals from a number of UK charities, a recent appeal from the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) is aimed at providing a more collaborative solution.

The DEC’s East Africa Appeal has raised £12 million in less than 24 hours. Made up of £7 million from public donations and £5 million from the government, it’s a positive start, but aid is still urgently required.

‘To be precise, we need £3.58 billion by July,’’ said O’Brien.

What is the DEC?

The Disasters Emergency Committee is an umbrella group comprised of 13 UK charities associated with disaster-related issues such as humanitarian aid and providing clean water. Charities part of the DEC include ActionAid, Oxfam and Save the Children.

Famine is defined by the UN and food organisations as when more than 30 per cent of children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition and mortality rates are two or more deaths per 10,000 people every day, among other criteria.

According to information from Oxfam’s website, famine occurs due to a triple failure of food production, people’s ability to access food and perhaps most crucially, in the political response by governments and international donors.


Words: Ellen White

Cover image:  Tom Pilston/Save the Children


Do more

Donate to the DEC appeal for East Africa or Yemen here

Help with the Nigeria food crisis here:

To donate £5 to the DEC East Africa Crisis via your mobile, text HELP to 70000.