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Over 36 million face hunger every day in the Horn of Africa: ActionAid calls for urgent funding

Aerial photograph of Ceel DHeere community , Somaliland

The international humanitarian organisation ActionAid is calling on the governments of Italy, Qatar, the United Kingdom, and the United States to immediately support the humanitarian response in the Horn of Africa ahead of the high-level pledging event in New York.

Urgent funding is required to support the climate-induced humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, driven by one of the worst droughts in the Horn of Africa and the continent.

In climate crisis, its women and girls that bear the brunt, especially with drought displacement increasing the risk of sexual and gender-based violence, unpaid care work and limited or no access to emergency reproductive healthcare.

Acknowledging this, ActionAid and partners, calls for the international donors to act quickly and pledge munificently allowing no room for regress in discussions where the lives of millions of women and girls are at risk, and over 36 million people are suffering from severe hunger.

History should not repeat itself concerning the underfunding in the Horn of Africa. Governments and donors must address the disparities in humanitarian funding following four years of failed harvests, unpredictable rainfall and rocketing global food prices and acknowledge the poly-crisis developing in the region, including the Sudan conflict and its crippling domino effect.

Rich countries’ carbon emissions are responsible for the dire situation millions of households in East Africa are experiencing. The continuity of austerity measures prioritising debt servicing in foreign currency in the Horn of Africa states exacerbates the climate and debt crisis. Therefore, the international community has a responsibility to increase its financial support.

Women and young people must not be omitted from these critical discussions, and the governments of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia should promote women’s and young people’s participation, leadership and decision-making in drought and conflict response, recovery, and peacebuilding.

Where the priority is to save lives and upsurge resilience and disaster preparedness, gender-responsive multi-year funding is required and should not be delayed. Without this vital funding, the protracted humanitarian crisis in the region will worsen at the expense of those least responsible for the climate crisis.

Tinebeb Berhane, ActionAid Ethiopia’s Country Director, said: “We are dealing with a multifaceted crisis in Ethiopia and East Africa. Our women and children, particularly girls are disproportionately impacted by this devastating drought – the worst we have witnessed in history. This high-level discussion should result in real change, that is a substantial pledge that recognises the dire humanitarian needs of millions of people across the Horn of Africa.”

Susan Otieno, ActionAid Kenya’s Executive Director, said: “What we are witnessing in Kenya as a direct result of the drought is cataclysmic. The risk of displacement and gender-based violence rises as the drought deepens. Immediate funding and long-term solutions must be agreed to put an end to the climate-induced suffering. I have seen first-hand how women and girls can transform their communities, when given the opportunity. That opportunity must come now. We need to invest in the leadership of women and young people, before, during and after a crisis.”

To contact the ActionAid press office email or call +44 7586107955.

Spokespeople available:

  • Tinebeb Berhane, Country Director, ActionAid Ethiopia
  • Mohamed Sillah, Country Director, ActionAid Somalia
  • Susan Otieno, Executive Director, ActionAid Kenya

About ActionAid 
ActionAid is a global federation that works with more than 15 million people living in more than 40 of the world's poorest countries. We want to see a just and sustainable world, in which everyone enjoys the right to a dignified life and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work for social justice and gender equality and poverty eradication.