Letter to the Editor - Sounding the Alarm on Famine

International development and humanitarian leaders come together to sound the alarm on the unfolding food crisis in the Horn of Africa

14 Jun 2022

Right now, it is estimated that one person is dying of hunger every 48 seconds in drought-ravaged Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. The number of people experiencing extreme hunger across the Horn of Africa has more than doubled since last year – from over 10 million to more than 23 million today. Nearly half a million people across parts of Somalia and Ethiopia are facing famine-like conditions. And the UN is warning that 350,000 Somali children may die by the summer if governments and donors do not tackle this hunger crisis immediately.

This unfolding humanitarian crisis has been triggered by climate change, conflict and the impact of Covid-19. But it has been further heightened by the global food emergency caused by the conflict in Ukraine.

We, as Irish development and humanitarian organisations, have come together to call for urgent and collective action to tackle catastrophic hunger levels across East Africa.   We are appealing to the Irish Government to demonstrate and hold firm leadership at an international level to ensure an immediate and radical mobilisation of aid in the region.  Rich nations, including our own, must meet the drastically underfunded, UN appeal of US$4.4bn for Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia to help save lives now.

Ireland can also play a leading role by supporting decision making that protects the lives and well-being of those furthest behind by being an outspoken advocate at the UN Security Council. In relation to Ukraine we call on all warring parties to respect the laws of armed conflict by facilitating unhindered humanitarian access, and respecting the integrity of items essential to the survival of innocent civilians.

It is imperative that governments, including Ireland, and the international community move to prevent further destitution and suffering. Each day of delayed action is costing lives. We must act now.


Karol Balfe, CEO Action Aid Ireland

Martin Ballantyne, CEO Brighter Communities Worldwide

Jim Clarken, CEO, Oxfam

Sean Copeland, Acting CEO / Tearfund Ireland

Caoimhe De Barra, CEO Trócaire

Ray Jordan, CEO, Self Help Africa

Aonghus Kelly, Executive Director, Irish Rule of Law International

Jane-Ann McKenna, CEO Dóchas

Dominic McSorley, CEO Concern Worldwide

Paul O’ Brien, CEO Plan International Ireland

Siobhan Walsh, CEO GOAL


Image Caption: From left to right; David Dalton (Self Help Africa), Jo-Ann Ward (Action Aid Ireland), Caoimhe de Barra (Trócaire), Maurice Sadlier (World Vision Ireland), Jim Clarken (Oxfam),  Réiseal Ní Chéilleachair (Concern Worldwide), Jane-Ann McKenna (Dóchas), Amina Ibrahim Abdulla (Concern Worldwide), Mary Van Lieshout (GOAL) and Julie Dwyer (Plan International Ireland).



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