Scotland is sending £235,000 worth of funding added to the £200,000 already pledged to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Appeal to support vulnerable families in East Africa suffering from the effects of the famine and food crisis.
23 million people across South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, with half a million children under five being at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition.
Mercy Corps , a member of the Scottish Government’s Humanitarian Emergency Fund (HEF) have stated that:
“Children and families in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria are facing the threat of starvation. The U.N. has warned that 20 million people in these countries are at risk of famine, and many of them are children.”
The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said:
“We stand at a critical point in history. We are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN.”
A combination of years of conflict and drought have produced catastrophic conditions for millions of people in the region affected. The UN have warned that without collective and coordinated global efforts people risk starving to death and succumbing to disease.
The U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visiting Kenya early on in the year said that more than 1 million people were at risk in conflict hit South Sudan where aid has been blocked by looters and violence.
Oxfam welcomed the setting up of the HEF by the Scottish Government in April:
“”This new fund will enable humanitarian agencies to reach more people in urgent need – and not only when the media spotlight is on a crisis, but as the need demands.”
The HEF panel is made up of eight representatives from leading humanitarian aid organisations in Scotland: Mercy Corps, Oxfam, British Red Cross, Mission Aviation Fellowship, SCIAF, Christian Aid, Tearfund and Save the Children.
Minister for International Development and Europe in the Scottish Government Alasdair Allan, said:
“This first release of funding from the HEF for East Africa will enable us to provide immediate and effective assistance to some of the world’s most vulnerable people, demonstrating Scotland’s role as a responsible global citizen.
“The panel brings together representatives from leading aid agencies across Scotland to work collaboratively. This sense of connection is a key strength of the Panel’s work and I am confident it will enable us to make a real difference to some of those most in need in the future.”
The panel consists of 8 organisations: Mercy Corps, Oxfam, British Red Cross, Mission Aviation Fellowship, SCIAF (Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund), Christian Aid, Tearfund and Save the Children.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame