The Isle of Man has responded swiftly to an appeal launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to address the emerging crisis in East Africa.
£50,000 has been donated from the Emergency Aid budget to provide life-saving support to agencies working in South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, where drought and conflict have left millions of people in immediate need of food, water and medical treatment.
Conflict has been raging in South Sudan for more than three years, while parts of the country have not had any rain for two years. The World Food Programme reports that 40% of the South Sudanese population (4.9 million people) needs food urgently and close to 100,000 are in imminent danger of death by starvation.
The same drought that has affected parts of South Sudan is also causing havoc across Somalia and parts of Kenya and Ethiopia. The UN warns that the situation is worse than it was between 2010 and 2012 when famine claimed the lives of 260,000 people in Somalia.
The launch of the East Africa Crisis Appeal comes just days after the Isle of Man provided £100,000 to support the DEC’s humanitarian response in Yemen.
Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK said:
‘The fact that the DEC is conducting this appeal so soon after its Yemen appeal highlights just how desperate the situation is in East Africa. The Isle of Man Government has moved quickly to make a contribution to the aid programmes being delivered in countries scarred by conflict and drought. I recognise that overseas aid is an emotive issue, but I believe it is important for the Isle of Man to play its part in efforts to create a better future for all the world’s citizens.’
DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed commented:
‘Hunger on a massive scale is looming across East Africa. More than 800,000 children under five are severely malnourished. Without urgent treatment, they are at risk of starving to death.
‘We are hearing that families are so desperate for food that they are resorting to eating leaves to survive. This is something no family should have to endure. Unless we act now the number of deaths will drastically increase.’
Isle of Man charity the One World Centre is organising street collections and bag-packing teams for the DEC’s East Africa appeal for the weekend of 25th-26th March. Anyone wishing to volunteer is asked to phone Rosemary Clarke on 800464 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.