‘One Year On – We Must Turn This Cycle Around’

Jul 20, 2012

Food insecurity and conflict still a threat for East Africa

One year on from the devastating drought and famine that affected over 12 million people in East Africa, CARE Canada is calling on governments and donors to take action to stop the repeated cycle of food crises in the region.

“Although since 2011 the humanitarian interventions of CARE and our partners have helped to prevent excessive deaths, many families in the East Africa continue to face challenging circumstances,” said Kevin McCort, CARE Canada CEO. “They struggle to feed themselves, rebuild their livelihoods and remain extremely vulnerable to future shocks.” McCort returned this week from Chad, which along with other countries in the Sahel region of West Africa, is currently experiencing a drought and food crisis.

CARE is calling on governments, NGOs, community leaders and individuals to work together to address and prevent the continual cycles of crisis in the dry lands areas of East Africa. As the Sahel region struggles to cope with a similar crisis on the other side of the continent, the lessons learned from 2011 and before cannot be ignored.

In 2012 food security levels in south central Somalia, eastern and north eastern Kenya and southern Ethiopia remain at crisis and emergency levels and are expected to persist until at least September.

“The 2011 drought and famine have left many communities lacking the necessary reserves to build resilience against further crises,” said McCort. “The mixed and generally below average March to May rains, steady rise in food prices and persistent insecurity facing the region mean that many people will struggle to cope in 2012. Last year we learned that our best efforts in using early warning systems and closely monitoring food security situations in local communities will always be undermined if these warning are not acted upon.”

CARE calls for:   
•    Regional bodies and governments to embrace the structural and policy changes necessary to improve the lives of vulnerable communities in the Horn of Africa;
•    Donors to support funding mechanisms that allow for emergency scale up and response within existing development funded programs; and
•    Governments in the Horn of Africa to prioritize greater infrastructure investment in areas facing food insecurity.

In 2011 CARE’s worldwide appeal for assistance for the Horn of Africa reached over 2.8 million beneficiaries. CARE Canada, along with other members of the HUMANITARIAN COALITION collectively raised $14 million for emergency humanitarian programs in East Africa. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) contributed $4.95 million to CARE’s appeal for Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, and Ethiopia.

“We thank Canadians who donated generously to our East Africa appeal last year,” said Mr. McCort. “Their support, along with contribution of CIDA, allowed CARE to provide urgent, life-saving basic necessities and activities to help women, men and their families get back on their feet and move forward with dignity.”

The needs over the next five years are estimated at $320 million, and CARE members worldwide are working to secure this funding.

About CARE
Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading international humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. In over 80 countries, CARE works with the poorest communities to improve basic health and education, enhance rural livelihoods and food security, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity, help vulnerable people adapt to climate change and provide lifesaving assistance during emergencies. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls living in poverty because, equipped with the proper resources, women and girls have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. To learn more, visit www.care.ca.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Suzanne Charest   
Director, Communications and Marketing, CARE Canada
Tel:  613-228-5641
Cel:  613-790-2134
suzanne.charest@care.ca

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