UCC Launches Eastern Horn of Africa Drought and Famine Appeal

July 26, 2011

The United Church of Christ issued a $250,000 emergency relief appeal as a result of a drought causing food shortage affecting more than 10 million people in East Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya).

Today the United Church of Christ issued a $250,000 emergency relief appeal for drought and famine impacted communities in the Eastern Horn of Africa. 
One Great Hour of Sharing emergency relief grants have been shared with Church World Service and Action by Churches Together to support immediate emergency food relief in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.  The United Church of Christ is a member communion of Church World Service and an affiliate of the ACT Alliance.

Your donation is needed now.

Unable to find water, a camel lies slumped on the ground in the Borena region of south Ethiopia where widespread drought is forcing people and livestock to search far afield for water. ACT/DCA/Binyan Mengesha

SITUATION: This year marks the driest period in the Eastern Horn of Africa region since 1995, with the lowest level of rainfall in more than 50 years.

As a result, food security -- the access and availability to food -- has deteriorated for most households in all arid and semi-arid regions in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia as well as other countries in the region.  In a word, the situation has become a crisis. Crops have failed, large numbers of livestock needed for survival have perished, and local food prices have increased substantially.

Earlier this week, the United Nations declared that famine exists in two areas of southern Somalia, southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle. (Famine is declared when acute rates of malnutrition exist among children, exceeding 30 percent; when more than two persons per 10,000 die daily; and when people are not able to access and sufficiently utilize food and other basics.)

In all, more than 10 million people in East Africa are affected by the drought. In Somalia, some 3.7 million people are now facing a crisis, while in Kenya the total number of those estimated to be affected is up to 3.5 million.

Among the characteristics of this crisis: Deepening food insecurity in pastoral areas and in urban poor settings; the rate of acute malnutrition among children in these areas is steadily increasing; and Kenya is experiencing an unprecedented influx of refugees fleeing drought conditions from Somalia.


  • Church World Service is focusing work on both immediate relief and longer-term food security/nutrition and water initiatives. Work is focused in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.
  • In Kenya, CWS-implemented work is focused on the Mwingi and Kibwezi areas and will include immediate relief work (for five months) involving provision of family food packages, Unimix nutritional supplement for children under the age of five and water tinkering. In the longer-term, CWS will initiate food security/nutrition/livelihoods efforts and permanent water initiatives that are part of our already-existing disaster risk reduction initiatives in Kenya.
  • ACT members have determined that Somalia will be the largest area of focus for the overall ACT response in terms of the amount of assistance.  That is because Somalia is a country "where little other than NGO support will exist and the situation of people there is the most dire," said Donna Derr, who heads CWS's development and humanitarian assistance program.
  • CWS-supported efforts in Somalia are focused on contributing to the work by fellow members of ACT Alliance: Lutheran World Federation and Norwegian Church Aid.
  • CWS-supported work in Ethiopia is focused on response efforts by the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Development and Social Services Commission, a long-time CWS partner.


Members of a newly arrived Somali family carry a bag of corn from the reception center of the Dagahaley refugee camp, part of the Dadaab refugee complex in northeastern Kenya. The Lutheran World Federation, a member of the ACT Alliance, is camp manager in Dadaab.

In Kenya, CWS is a member of the ACT Kenya Forum, a group of ACT Alliance members working and coordinating together. The combined ACT efforts are targeting some 97,526 households in various emergency response and drought recovery interventions. In all, some 14,000 households are to receive relief food aid for 5 months; 25,500 households are to receive monthly food vouchers for 5 months; 36,000 households are to receive fresh drinking water for domestic use for 5 months; 47,500 households are to receive water for livestock. In addition, the ACT effort will include the de-worming of more than 100,000 heads of cattle.

The budget for direct CWS work in Kenya will initially be $431,839, which includes emergency food relief for families, supplemental feeding for children under five years of age, and water provision for a period of five months. Longer-term work will involve disaster risk reduction programs inclusive of food security/livelihood programs and the construction of permanent water systems. Total preliminary funding for activities of all ACT members in Kenya is:  $5,508,000.


CWS-supported work by Norwegian Church Aid will provide emergency food, non-food items (shelter, clothing, hygiene materials), psychosocial support and water and sanitation in the crisis phase. The post-crisis phase will consist of livelihood recovery interventions including providing seeds and restocking livestock and income generating activities for the affected farming/pastoral communities.  An anticipated 94,000 persons will be assisted in the Gedo region.  

CWS-supported work by Lutheran World Federation is for the agency's implementation of emergency and post-emergency programs at three of the border camps at Dadaab which currently house some 358,000 refugees. There many new refugees are arriving weekly from Somalia. Services to be provided include: water supply; material aid and psycho-social support to families, including nutrient enriched porridge for children and the elderly; temporary learning and recreational centers for children.

Total preliminary budget for these programs is:  $12,485,757

CWS partner and ACT Alliance member Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Development and Social Services Commission is responding by providing food aid to 68,812 persons in the Gasara and Saba Boru districts.

The monthly ration size per individual beneficiary consists of 15 kg wheat, 1.5 kg of beans, as well as cooking oil, which is calculated according to the government relief food ration standard. As well, children under five, pregnant and lactating women are being prioritized to receive 1.5 kg supplementary food, known as Famix, per person.  

Total budget for this response:  $793,766.31, of which $777,902 is for emergency food.

Responses from our Partners:

 CWS responds to the East Africa Drought and Famine

CWS - July 27th Article

The ACT Alliance response to the Drought in the Horn of Africa

1. Pray for the people and communities across the East Horn of Africa impacted by drought and famine and UCC partners providing relief.

2. To assist people impacted by this disaster, please make a gift payable to your congregation marked for “East Africa Drought/Famine”  with the request they be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries.

Send gifts, made out to United Church of Christ and marked in the memo portion “East Africa Drought/Famine”  to United Church of Christ; Financial Services;  700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.


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Thank you for your compassion and support.

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