September 4, 2022
We are Anglican bishops from South Sudan and Kenya, two of the countries most affected by the hunger crisis in East Africa. We see every day how food shortages are devastating the lives of our communities. Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are experiencing an unprecedented third severe drought in a decade, and South Sudan has suffered devastating floods. This, combined with soaring global food prices, the impact of the war in Ukraine, and protracted armed conflict in Ethiopia and South Sudan, is putting hundreds of thousands of lives at risk.
A few months ago, 21 million people in the Horn of Africa and South Sudan did not have enough to eat. That number is now 31 million and rising, with girls and women particularly badly affected. A staggering 75% of people in South Sudan are severely food insecure, the direst conditions since the birth of the nation. In Kenya, food insecurity has doubled in the past year as the world stood by. Families take desperate measures to survive, with over a million abandoning their homes in search of food, water and pasture for livestock. At least 7 million livestock have died in recent months, and children’s health is damaged because they can’t get enough milk.
Another famine is on the horizon, but it is not inevitable.
We call on the UK government to urgently get more funding to the front line of the hunger crisis in East Africa, and to mobilise the international community to collectively step up. Early warnings were not heeded. Existing commitments to strengthen resilience have not been backed up by funding that is so desperately needed. This must change. Every day, more lives are lost, and more are at risk.
We commend the UK government’s rapid and generous response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. This should not, however, be a reason to divert humanitarian resources away from regions also in dire need, such as ours. St Paul wrote that we are all part of one body, we are interdependent. For the sake of the whole body, sisters and brothers, we need your help.
The Most Rev Dr Justin Badi Arama, Primate of South Sudan joined by 43 other East African bishops