(Vatican Radio) Aid agencies are stepping up their efforts to help 16 million people facing starvation across East Africa. The dire situation in the affected countries of South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia has been caused by conflict and drought.
The UN is warning that the world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of the Second World War.
CAFOD the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has joined up with the Disasters Emergency Committee DEC which brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis.
Matthew Carter is CAFOD’S Director of Humanitarian and Emergencies. He spoke to Lydia O’Kane about the scale of the crisis.
“This is huge, the level, I mean of the emergency across the whole region from Ethiopia, Northern Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan; 16 million people in desperate need of food aid and of those 800,000 children,” he said. Mr Carter added, that “we need to respond quickly, that’s the critical bit.”
Conflict and drought
Speaking about relief efforts and the difficulties that are being faced, he explained that, “logistics are really difficult within the region… particularly Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, they’re countries that are wrecked with civil war ongoing…”
The CAFOD Humanitarian Director said that overwhelmingly it was drought and climate change that was a major cause of the current crisis. He added South Sudan has had four consecutive failed rains.
“We need to do more”, said Carter, “we are responding to the needs of 16 million people and he went on to say that governments and individuals can play their part in helping those who are suffering.