Children's Hunger Crisis: Horn of Africa

A hunger crisis on the brink of a catastrophe.


About this appeal

What is happening in the Horn of Africa?

The alarm is sounding. Right now, at least 10 million children are in danger of acute malnutrition (also known as 'wasting') across the Horn of Africa - an increase of 40% in just the last two months. The very real threat of deadly famine is once again upon the subregion. The situation for kids there is rapidly deteriorating by the day and we need to act now.  

We urgently need your help to scale up our response during this hunger crisis, to reach more children and avert a full-blow humanitarian disaster. They need life-saving therapeutic food, clean water and medicines to survive. There’s no time to waste. Please donate today. 

What’s causing the Hunger Crisis?  

The hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa is not making headlines. But that doesn’t make the threats to children and families less dire.  

The worst climate-induced drought in 40 years and skyrocketing food prices have driven millions of kids to the brink of famine. With so many countries heavily reliant on exports from Ukraine and Russia - the war in Ukraine is threatening to plunge the region even deeper into a food crisis. Staples such as wheat and cooking oil are now already out of reach for many families.  


The most drought impacted countries are Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. These 3 countries have more than 1.7m children needing desperate treatment for severe acute malnutrition (or severe ‘wasting’). Without urgent intervention, these children are at risk of death - and if rain fails again in the coming weeks and months, this figure will rise to 2 million

We need your support now, as the window to avert a children’s catastrophe in the Horn of Africa is closing rapidly 

What’s UNICEF doing to avoid famine?    

With nutrition programmes in 130 countries, we know a thing or two about treating malnourished children. UNICEF is the world’s largest supplier of therapeutic food used to treat malnourished kids, distributing 80% of the world’s supply. It’s relatively inexpensive and, with just two sachets a day, it can nurse a child back to health in just 6-8 weeks. We work around the clock, delivering therapeutic food and other life-saving supplies, wherever children need them in the world, within 48-72 hours. 

It’s not too late to prevent a catastrophe. Your donation will help UNICEF reach more children just like Anei - providing them with therapeutic food, safe drinking water and medicines. With so many children at risk - you can you help us save one life. 

Click over to the Impact Tab to see the difference UNICEF has already been making in the Horn of Africa - thanks to our awesome donors.  


How will you help

UNICEF’s response so far 

In 2020, we treated 5 million children suffering severe malnutrition with cost-effective, ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) that is proven to save lives. But the COVID-19 pandemic and armed conflicts are driving up the price of RUTF, which will likely halt the scale-up of treatment of wasting. More funding is essential to maintain the supply of RUTF.  

In the Horn of Africa, UNICEF and partners are supporting an integrated response encompassing nutrition, safe water, sanitation and hygiene, disease prevention, and food security. 

Severe acute malnutrition (or ‘severe wasting’) is the most lethal form of undernutrition, and one of the top threats to child survival. Around 1 in 5 deaths among children under 5 are attributed to severe wasting, which is caused by a lack of nutritious food and preventable diseases such as diarrhoea, measles and malaria, which in turn compromise a child’s immunity. That’s why UNICEF takes a holistic approach to treating and preventing malnutrition. 

We’re working across the entire Horn of Africa region in this hunger crisis to provide life-saving treatments and humanitarian aid, including: 

 1. Prevention and treatment of severe acute malnutrition 

 * In Tigray, Ethiopia, UNICEF reached 1,971 severely malnourished children, and airlifted 8,320 cartons of RUTF in March this year. 

2. Prevention and response to major childhood illnesses  

Every year, UNICEF reaches almost half of the world’s children with life-saving vaccines. 

* In Somalia, UNICEF vaccinated 432,840 children under the age of five against measles in March. 

* In South Sudan, UNICEF installed equipment for 23 cold chains (CCE) to expand the capacity for COVID-19 vaccination activities.  

3. Expanding access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. 

It’s estimated that almost 50% of cases of severe malnutrition are associated with diarrhoea, which is itself caused by the ingestion of unsafe water and poor hygiene practices. 

* UNICEF has provided 291,838 children in Somalia with emergency water supplies through trucking and water point rehabilitation. 


You can help us scale up our response to reach more children with life-saving therapeutic food, clean water and medicines to survive. Please donate now. 

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