With more than 100 million people already struggling without food across the region, the British Red Cross warns that the number of people without access to food, is set to rise unless action is taken now.
Climate change, conflict and Covid, made worse by global price rises, and the conflict in Ukraine, are having a devastating impact on people’s health, lives, and livelihoods. The Red Cross is hearing that parents are being forced to sacrifice meals so that their children can eat, sometimes not eating for days themselves. Children are being taken out of school to earn money so that families can buy more food, yet every morning families are still waking up hungry.
Red Cross teams are working on the ground across the continent, supporting communities who have been hit hardest with water, food, immediate financial help, nutrition services, and healthcare. They have also continued to work alongside communities to find solutions, providing drought-resistant seeds, developing new farming techniques where water is scarce, and providing financial support to farmers and people impacted.
But the British Red Cross warns that, in the short-term, humanitarian organisations will not be able to avert catastrophe in the region without more funding. In the long-term, communities will continue to be impacted by extreme changes to climate, unless governments stick to commitments made at COP26 in Glasgow and invest in building communities’ resilience.
Dr Asha Mohammed, secretary general of the Kenya Red Cross, said:
“We have been sounding the alarm for some time in Kenya. We are facing the worst drought in 40 years. Crop production has decreased by 70%. As a result, 4.1 million people in Kenya do not have enough food. The Red Cross has so far reached over half a million people with food, water, health care and support to farmers in Kenya, but this is not enough. We need more funding in the short-term, and more action for the future.
*“This crisis is not caused by climate change alone, but it is certainly a key driver. I heard first-hand the commitments made by governments at COP26 to take action to support communities to adapt to these crises.**Governments must stand by these commitments and invest in building communities’ resilience as the long-lasting solutions needed to help people impacted by the climate crisis.” *
Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said:
“Climate, Covid and conflict, and now, the crisis in Ukraine, have come together to create disastrous conditions. We need a concerted and meaningful financial and humanitarian response now, to avert an otherwise certain catastrophe. Red Cross teams are responding but they alone will not stop this crisis from escalating.
“The UK must play a leading role in responding to this growing emergency. Communities urgently need support, not only with immediate food and healthcare needs, but also longer-term, sustainable solutions. By responding quickly and early in 2017, we prevented a calamitous crisis in the Horn of Africa. We must see that same urgency now.”