World Vision International
Press Release • Friday, March 24th 2017

700,000 children on the brink of death as aid is delayed

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Nairobi, Kenya--With famine declared in parts of South Sudan, the hunger crisis in Somalia is on the cusp of becoming a famine and Kenya experiencing severe drought, the lives of 700,000 children who are suffering severe acute malnutrition are now in the balance.

The situation in Somalia is deteriorating quickly, with acute levels of food insecurity increasing each day.  World Vision is deeply concerned that hundreds of children could die if they do not get the nutritious food supplements they urgently need, as well as water and food.

“Children are already dying in South Sudan and Somalia, many more are on the brink in northern Kenya and parts of Ethiopia. We cannot wait any longer. If we learned anything from the famine of 2011 that killed 260,000 people, we must act now, and act fast to save lives,” warns Christopher Hoffman, World Vision’s Director of Humanitarian Response in East Africa.

The UN has described the current hunger crisis affecting South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria as the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945. Northern Bahr El Gazhel in South Sudan is sliding into catastrophic levels of hunger, with it fast approaching famine levels, while malnutrition is spiking in Turkana (North Western Kenya) where nearly 55 per cent of children under 5 years are suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Stephen O’Brien, UN under secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the Security Council recently that without collective and coordinated efforts “people will simply starve to death” and “many more will suffer and die from disease.”

To reverse this threat to children in East Africa, a region already grappling with 3.3 million displaced persons, requires sustained funding and focus on the hunger crisis. The need still exceeds the pledged funding by far, as humanitarian agencies, donors and governments rush to address a humanitarian crisis driven by conflict, climate and economic shocks.

“Swift help to get food and water into affected remote areas is needed now, and can still help save lives and reverse the threat,” said Mr. Hoffman.

World Vision is providing food, water and nutrition assistance to over a million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan.

World Vision is appealing for $92 million (USD) to provide life-saving assistance and protection to 2.2 million people in urgent need across the region.


Notes for editor:

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

For more information please contact:

  1. Christopher Hoffman: +254 705 165 535, Skype: chrishoffmandrm 
  2. Brenda Kariuki: +254 722 880 067, Skype: brenda.kariuki  
  3. Geoffrey Kalebbo Denye: +254 733 442 722, Skype: geoffreydenye