Alarming food shortage in East Africa

Arie Kievit / ICRC
Image: Arie Kievit / ICRC
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Over 20 million people have trouble getting enough food in East Africa.

The situation is the worst in Somalia and South Sudan, where the prolonged conflicts make the food shortage even more severe.
The drought caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon is also making people’s lives difficult in several other African countries and in Yemen. 
The aid provided by the Finnish Red Cross is focused on Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya.

The situation in Somalia gets worse

Somalia is one of the poorest and most unsafe countries in the world, and the humanitarian situation in the country has worsened rapidly. Over 6.2 million people – half of the country’s population – are in dire need of humanitarian aid. 
Because of the drought, many families have lost their cattle and their crops and been forced to flee to another part of the country. Due to the conflict, humanitarian aid is unable to reach many people.
Contagious diseases are threatening over 5.5 million people, more than half of them women and children. 
The aid provided by the Finnish Red Cross in Somalia focuses on healthcare. We operate throughout the country together with the Somali Red Crescent Society and the International Red Cross.
In particular, we support healthcare for women and children through the clinics of the Somali Red Crescent Society. We treat malnourished children and vaccinate them.
Some of the clinics are mobile, which means they can also reach internally displaced persons. 
In addition to this, we support families with financial aid distributed via mobile phones. This aid can be used to buy food.
In March 2017, we will also start to improve the income of 1,400 households living in Somaliland. We offer both technological expertise and financial aid through the Disaster Relief Fund.
The operations of the Finnish Red Cross in Somalia are funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the European Union and the Disaster Relief Fund.

Immense need for help in South Sudan

At the moment, most of the population of South Sudan can barely fulfil their basic daily needs. In many regions people are suffering from acute malnourishment. 
The combination of conflict and drought has forced people to leave their homes and flee both to other parts of South Sudan and outside the country. There currently are nearly 800,000 refugees from South Sudan in Uganda.
The International Red Cross can offer aid in regions where other operators cannot go. For example, food was distributed to 60,000 people in February in the Leer region, which has suffered badly in the drought. 
In addition to food aid, clean water and healthcare services, the Red Cross spreads information about the laws of war, reunifies families and visits prisons.
We support the work of the International Red Cross in South Sudan through financial aid, material aid and aid workers.
In addition to emergency relief, the Finnish Red Cross improves people’s health through long-term aid. We also support the South Sudan Red Cross in their work to provide water, sanitation and healthcare.