East Africa crisis 'worst in our generation' warns Christian Aid

Christian humanitarian charities are warning the East Africa famine is the worst crisis in a generation as they plead for more funds.

Half the population of South Sudan are now in desperate need of food and violent conflict has forced millions to flee their homes and land. They have joined millions more across Kenya and Ethiopia after persistent drought and poor rains have caused harvests to fail, water sources to dry up, and cattle – a crucial life-source – to die in their thousands.

With 20 million people at risk of famine and a funding shortfall of nearly £150 million, Christian Aid and other members of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) are begging for more resources.

Andreea Campeanu/DECFive-year-old twin sisters Nyadiet Rok Magoak and Nyaboth Rok Magoak, at a nutrition centre in the Duong health clinic, run by a local NGO.

'In terms of scale and intensity, this is the worst disaster that I have seen in my 20 years as a humanitarian worker, and the worst in our generation,' said regional humanitarian adviser Mbaraka Fazal.

'It is certainly the most severe crisis that Christian Aid and our partners here in East Africa have dealt with.

'We are working relentlessly to support those in need of life-saving assistance. So far we have managed to deliver aid to 74,879 people: from helping them access food and clean water, to giving them the means to catch fish, feed their cattle, earn an income and keep their children in school.'

But he went on to say despite reaching almost 75,000 this was 'only touching the tip of the iceberg'.

'So many lives hang in the balance, as hunger, thirst and disease tighten their grip,' he said.

'In 2017, it is a scandal that anyone should starve to death. Yet, that is the reality facing millions of people – from babies to the most elderly. As an international community, we cannot just sit by and watch from the side-lines. We can, and we must, do more. We need extra funding to help women, children and men not only survive, but also rebuild their lives.'

But it is not just food shortages that is leading to deaths.

With people forced from their land either through war or draught, they have to travel vast distances and with more people competing for less and less resources, conflict between different ethnic groups is inevitable, Fazal said.

He went on to warn the dry season is approaching which will make people even more vulnerable

'We can't sit by and watch a generation of children die before they have had a chance to live. We need to act now.'

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