In 2016, the short rainy seasons that are critical to food production and replenishment of water supplies in East Africa failed to arrive, worsening a multi-year drought that has placed millions of people at risk of starvation. Due to climate change, some areas have registered only a third of their usual rain levels and in some places, it hasn’t rained in more than two years. Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan have been particularly affected by the drought.
Ongoing tension and conflict in parts of the region have plunged people in greater danger. In Kenya, dwindling pastures for livestock to graze upon have forced pastoralists to bring their starving livestock to farmlands for survival, leading to deep tensions with farmers who already face food shortages. Meanwhile, in South Sudan six million people are on the brink of starvation as ongoing fighting between government and opposition forces in the country has prevented many farmers from planting crops, while others have been forced to flee their lands—leading to widespread food shortages. As a result, refugees from South Sudan have been entering Uganda in droves — an average of 4,700 a day — adding pressure to an already vulnerable border region where food and water remain scarce. Children face acute malnutrition, livestock are rapidly dying and soaring food prices have caused families to go without meals and sell their belongings.
In keeping with AJWS’s longstanding commitment to disaster response and recovery, we have launched an East Africa Crisis Fund to provide immediate and long-term support to communities in South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda that have been hit hardest by drought, malnutrition and conflict.
AJWS will support organizations that will help communities:
- Access food and prevent malnutrition
- Identify clean water sources
- Provide psychosocial support for refugees
- Establish peacebuilding and coexistence projects to mitigate unrest