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East Africa Food Crisis - 1 year on

You proved that no crisis is too big to make a difference

It used to be green here, and all the time raining. People were happy. We used to sell livestock. But because of the drought lots of people are moving west and there is nothing much here anymore but I am happy the mobile health clinic is here.

Muhammed, 85 years old

This time last year catastrophic drought, economic insecurity, and conflict had left almost 25 million people across East Africa on the brink of starvation.

In response, we launched the East Africa Food Crisis Appeal and asked for your help.

To date, you’ve donated $1,830,693.90 and today the number of people facing starvation is down to 15.2 million.

This is due to improvements in the south of the region, rainfall last year and an enormous humanitarian intervention (that’s you…) that managed to stop large-scale famine from being declared.

Here is just some of what you have helped us achieve…

What your donations have made possible

But it isn’t all about the numbers. We want you to meet the people behind the statistics – the people your donations have helped.

Think this crisis is too big to make a difference? Meet Kadra.

All across East Africa people are banding together, mothers going hungry to feed their children, doctors and nurses working to provide life-saving healthcare and Red Cross Red Crescent workers helping villages battle drought conditions.

Our aid worker Jess Lees was lucky enough to meet some of those incredible people.

Australian Red Cross aid worker Jess Lees: Diary from Somaliland

Having recently returned from Somaliland - a self-declared independent state in the north-eastern region of Somalia, I am struck by the strength, courage and generosity of the women I met there…

Read more

I have had this farm since I was 15. Before the whole country used to have a really good climate and rains all the time. Life is getting very difficult my crops are getting lesser but I feel really proud of my son Siyad he went to get a loan and now you see that I have sufficient food for me and my animals.

Muhammed Mahmmoud

Programs that we’ve been able to deliver, thanks to you, have enabled many across the country to shape a more sustainable future for themselves and their communities; people like Bakard Aqi who protects the source of all life for his community – water.

The Safeguard of the Berked

…and the Yusef women, determined to do all they can to help their family cope, with a little help from our mobile health clinics.

Sisters doing it for themselves

Daka Yusef is tall, standing at around 5’ft’10 and, although she wears a loose-fitting abaya, you can tell that she has broad, strong shoulders. She holds herself the way people who have laboured hard their whole lives hold themselves. Rod-straight back, firmly poised...

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There are so many who make up the response to this East Africa Food Crisis, ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

But there are still tens of millions of people in need, families who lack even the basics to make it through.

Our situation is very difficult in the past year because of the drought. We lost all our animals and through them we were able to have a life. I need to be close back to the hospital so that I can take my daughter she is malnourished and has water on the brain, I would appreciate if I can get any help.


And due to a series of complex and inter-related causes it can be hard for many to escape the cycle of drought, poverty, famine and conflict.

But it is important to understand the reasons behind these recurring crises.