More than 20 million people face starvation and famine in East Africa. Drought has destroyed harvests, leaving people malnourished and desperate.
80-year-old Sadire remembers how it all began. 'The rainfall stopped. The farm animals had to be sold - first the goats and sheep and then the bulls and cows,' she says. 'Over the past 3 years, I've seen everything that I've built all my life drift away until eventually I'm left with nothing. I feel so helpless and alone. I fear for our survival.'
While the situation is desperate across East Africa, the situation is particularly bad in South Sudan, so much so that a famine has been declared there.
A famine is only declared when there is:
- A daily death rate of more than 2 people per 10,000
- Acute malnutrition rates of over 30%
- 20% of households facing extreme food shortage
In South Sudan, drought has been made worse by 3 years of conflict. Violence has forced thousands to flee from their homes.
Older people are struggling without food and water
73% of older people in East Africa rely on farming to live; people like Emayu. Now, instead of farming, the 60-year-old grandmother must cut trees for firewood and then walk 3 hours to the local market.
Emayu says 'This is the worst drought I have experienced in a long time’.
Not everyone can travel those long distances. Mary, 85, says 'I'm too weak to go to the market. My feet are swollen and I've lost my sight. It's become risky for me to go out and about.'
Age International in East Africa
Age International helps older people to survive emergencies; we seek out the most vulnerable and provide age-friendly emergency aid.
We are working to:
- Get food to malnourished people
- Help them access safe drinking water
We have already:
- Distributed drought-resistant seeds for planting
- Repaired and improved wells and land-pumps
- Given out water purification chemicals and water collection and storage materials
During emergencies like this, older people are particularly vulnerable; they have specialist nutritional needs and they can't always travel the long distances needed to find food and water.
Please help us to help them.
- £30 could provide food packages for two older people for a month
- £40 could buy drought-resistant seeds for two farmers
- £120 could provide clean water for a family for six months