Millions of children at risk of starvation across East Africa | Plan International Skip to main content

Millions of children at risk of starvation across East Africa

Four-year-old Eli and her family are surviving one day at a time with support from NGOs like Plan International. But with dwindling food supplies and rising tension in the area, they are uncertain of what tomorrow will bring.

Eli watches over a boiling pot of sorghum seeds in Central Equitoria.
Eli, 4, watches over a boiling pot of sorghum seeds in Central Equitoria. This is the only meal she'll have all day.

Donate to the East Africa Food Crisis Appeal“Just a little more fire to cook the sorghum”, says 4-year-old Eli as she blows on the flames. This is the only meal that she will receive all day. A handful of sorghum seeds that has been boiling in the diminishing fire since morning.

The rest of her family hold their breath at the first sight of food. Their anticipation for the day’s meal is high.

Millions in peril as crisis escalates

A combination of civil war, economic collapse and drought has led to the crisis situation in South Sudan and beyond. People have had to flee their homes and have lost the opportunity to produce food for themselves. 

Twenty-million people across South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are in urgent need of food as the crisis worsens, with the figure set to rise in the coming months. 

Hungry, tired and scared

Eli’s mother Vivianna, 33, her children, mother and pregnant sister were forced to flee when fighting began. They have settled in an abandoned village in Central Equatoria which has already seen its fair share of fighting.

We may die on the road due to hunger, especially my children.

The family fear that the armed men will return, but are too tired and hungry to walk to Uganda, where most of their community fled. “We may die on the road due to hunger, especially my children,” Vivianna says. 

Not long after arriving, Vivianna's sister miscarried her baby. “We have to stay until she is better. Then we will decide what to do.”

Thanks to food distribution by Plan International and the World Food Programme, the family are surviving one day at a time. But with dwindling supplies and rising tension in the area, they are uncertain of what tomorrow will bring.

Eli's siblings eagerly await their only meal of the day.
Eli's siblings eagerly await their only meal of the day.

Vivianna asks herself the same questions every day: Will they survive without food? Are they safe? Will they make it if they try to make it to neighbouring Uganda?

Eli’s main concern, though, is her bubbling pot of sorghum and when it will be ready to eat.

We need your support

We are currently working with the World Food Programme to conduct food distributions. We have also implemented therapeutic feeding and started feeding programmes in schools.

By joining hands with 25 partner organisations we are committed to urgently responding to this crisis to save the lives of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.

But we still need your help. It is estimated that the number of children at imminent risk of death from severe acute malnutrition this year is 1.4 million. 

Please help children like Eli and her siblings by donating to our East Africa Food Crisis appeal.