15 MARCH 2017
Twenty million people, including millions of children, across South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are in urgent need of food as the East Africa food crisis worsens.
In South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, almost 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death from severe acute malnutrition this year. We are particularly concerned about the impact of the emergency on girls who often suffer the worst consequences during disaster situations.
Girls suffer most during crises
Roland Angerer, Plan International’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, said: “We know from experience that girls are the ones who suffer most in these situations. In addition to the lack of food and water, the levels of child trafficking, sexual violence and early marriages tend to rise significantly during times of distress. In previous emergencies when families struggled to survive, many underage girls were sold into child marriage in exchange for livestock, there is no doubt this will happen again.”
In total, 4.9 million people, more than 40% of South Sudan’s population, are still in urgent need of food, agriculture and nutrition assistance. This figure is likely to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the severity and spread of the food crisis.
Daniel Muchena, Plan International’s Country Director in South Sudan said: “We are facing the horrible spectre of children dying in huge numbers if we do not take immediate action. The capacities of local populations have been stretched to their limits due to ongoing conflict and the food crisis is now pushing them to a tipping point. The international community must act now before it is too late.”
Crisis spreads across East Africa
Other countries in East Africa are also grappling with the food crisis. More than 20 million people, including millions of children across South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are in urgent need of food.
Plan International is working in Kenya providing urgent food supplies and lifesaving humanitarian support to children and families. In Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan, our programmes are addressing the needs of the South Sudanese refugees as they arrive.
We are deploying specialists to scale up the humanitarian response in the region. These specialists have extensive experience of working in disaster situations, particularly addressing the needs of children.