The British Red Cross has released a further half-million pounds to support emergency food aid to people in famine hit Somalia, bringing to £1.25m the total provided by the society for aid in Somalia in the past two weeks alone.
The latest release of funds comes on top of hundreds of thousands of pounds the society has already provided to help people across food-crisis affected areas of east Africa over the past 18 months.
Through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Somali Red Crescent, aid funded by the British Red Cross is able to reach areas of Somalia off-limits to many other agencies.
“People in Somalia are desperate for emergency food aid and the ICRC and Somali Red Crescent are able to get through to deliver it,” said Barry Armstrong, British Red Cross disaster response manager.
“With the growth of the crisis, feeding programmes in Somalia have been expanded and, thanks to donations to our appeal, we’ve been able to step up funding to support them.”
Today’s £500,000 will fund the purchase and distribution of almost half a million kilos of food – enough to feed 8,000 families.
In the face of the growing crisis in Somalia, the ICRC has announced it is opening ten new feeding centres, providing additional mobile teams to visit the worst affected areas and launching a new feeding programme for malnourished children under five and other vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women and new mothers.
The Red Cross is responding across east Africa to the current emergency, but has been working in the region for years trying to prevent crises before they emerge.
“Emergency food aid is the option of last resort. It is desperately needed now to save lives, but it does not solve any of the underlying causes,” added Armstrong
“One thing we are seeing which has made a long-term difference in areas of Kenya is helping people become more able to cope with crises before they arrive, by strengthening their livelihoods.
“But this kind of resilience work needs to begin months and years before a crisis arrives.”
To donate to the British Red Cross East Africa Food Crisis Appeal call 0845 054 7200 or visit redcross.org.uk/foodcrisis .
Red Cross spokespeople contacts
British Red Cross, London: Mark South 0207 877 7557
IFRC, Nairobi: Faye Callaghan +254 704 885 650
ICRC, Somalia: Yves van Loo +254 272 3963 or +254 736 084 015
Notes to editors
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies
in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on
with their lives.