Millions face starvation across east Africa, warns Trócaire

Trócaire appeals to Irish to donate money for South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya

Trócaire has warned that over 24 million people in east Africa face starvation. Director Éamonn Meehan said the situation "demands an immediate response from governments and people across the world".

Trócaire, he said, was “deeply concerned for the deteriorating health and wellbeing of the people in east Africa who have been struggling and failing to grow food in the face the conflict and drought”.

Parts of South Sudan had "fallen into famine, while across east Africa – South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya – over 24 million people are now facing malnutrition and extreme hunger", he said.

In a report to the Catholic Bishops' summer meeting in Maynooth, he said that "in Somalia alone, over 1.4 million children face life-threatening severe malnutrition this year" while war and instability had displaced millions in the area.


“An estimated three-quarters of all livestock have died across Somalia, leaving families without one of their main food sources. Drought has also led to lack of clean water. Over 4.5 million people [in east Africa] are estimated to be in need of water. This situation has contributed to an outbreak of cholera, with 36,000 cases and over 700 deaths so far,” he said.

Ravaged by drought

Northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia have been left ravaged by drought, he said, while over 10 million people in Kenya and Ethiopia are in need of urgent food aid, he said.

The numbers affected by the crisis were estimated at 6.2 million in Somalia, over half of them children, who were “in need of urgent humanitarian assistance,” said Mr Meehan.

For the rest of this year, “over nine million people in Ethiopia will not have access to safe drinking water,” while “more than seven million people in South Sudan – over half the population of the country – are in need of urgent aid due to conflict and drought.”

In northern Kenya 500,000 “are facing malnutrition due to drought”, he said.

Trócaire has been providing food, water purification tablets and other vital life-saving aids to support families in the area.

Its health centres in Somalia are providing food and health support to malnourished children, while across Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan it is providing high-energy food and other much-needed support to hundreds of thousands of people facing hunger, said Mr Meehan.

He concluded by encouraging people all over Ireland to support Trócaire's ongoing humanitarian work by donating as generously as possible.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times