The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

East Africa Food Crisis

We are working with our partners in South Sudan to help save the lives of thousands of people affected by famine, and responding to thousands of others in Kenya facing serious food shortages. 

A serious drought affecting a number of countries across East Africa has exacerbated the existing emergency in South Sudan created by ongoing civil conflict since 2013, and a famine has been declared by the South Sudan government and the UN in Unity State.

More than 100,000 people are facing starvation in areas of South Sudan where famine has officially been declared. An additional one million people are on the brink of famine, and a total of 5.1 million are in urgent need of food. It is the first official famine declared anywhere in the world since the crisis in Somalia in 2011, when 250,000 people died. 

Drought has also badly affected northern Kenya, with the government declaring a crisis situation, and Somalia and Ethiopia are also facing a major food crisis which the Caritas network is responding to.

South Sudan response

  • Emergency food
  • Shelter and essential household items
  • Hygiene kits
  • Medicine for clinics to distribute
  • Seeds and tools

Turkana, Kenya response

  • Emergency food to vulnerable groups
  • Water

We have been working alongside Caritas South Sudan responding to urgent needs in South Sudan since mid-2016 when violence flared up in the world’s newest nation. Our Senior Humanitarian Programmes Coordinator, Mark Mitchell, visited the country last year to assist Caritas South Sudan in the design and development of the programme and he returned in March this year to assist with the response to the famine.

Utilising the extensive church network, Caritas is also able to reach remote areas with emergency supplies. Seeds and tools are also being distributed to communities who have retained their land, to increase food security and self-sufficiency in the long term and restock empty markets so displaced people are able to buy food at a reasonable price again.

We have an historic relationship with communities in Turkana, northern Kenya, which has also been badly affected by the drought, and we are responding to needs in the region in collaboration with ChildFund New Zealand. In 2012 and 2013, we partnered with Trocaire to respond to a serious drought in Turkana, and the recovery programme included resilience-building work that means communities have fared better in this current emergency.



Thanks to the New Zealand Aid Programme, all donations to the East Africa Crisis Appeal will be doubled. 

*Select East Africa Crisis Appeal if donating online


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Tutu ana te puehu - Stirring up the dust