Balham’s Holy Ghost Catholic School today raised just shy of £1000 to donate to the East Africa Famine Appeal after catholic charity CAFOD joined forces with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to tackle the threat of famine.
Pupils at the Balham primary school each made a donation today and in return they were allowed to wear their own clothes for the duration of the day. They raised a grand sum of £956.60.
Millions of families across East Africa are on the brink of starvation because drought and civil war have hit food supplies. The UN is warning that the world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945.
The spotlight was thrown on the growing crisis last month when the UN officially declared a state of famine in two areas of Unity State in South Sudan. This means that, among other criteria, more than 30 per cent of children aged under five are suffering from acute malnutrition. Over 100,000 people in these districts have already begun to starve, and a million more are on the brink.
But a much wider area is in acute danger, with the DEC having launched an appeal for four East African countries - South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia where 16 million people face severe hunger.
"We no longer have the 'luxury' of dealing with one crisis at a time," warned Matthew Carter, CAFOD's Director of Humanitarian and Emergencies. "A deadly combination of extreme weather and protracted conflict is creating a humanitarian disaster across the whole region.
"The international humanitarian community will need to wholeheartedly support the life-saving emergency aid work of local and national organisations in these countries."
CAFOD aid workers have seen mothers picking leaves off trees to feed to their children to stave off hunger pangs, and met an old man who had gone blind as a result of starvation. As so often in humanitarian emergencies, it is the women, children and the elderly who are worst affected.
"It is now critical to reach vulnerable families who have lost everything and no longer have ways of coping," Ogolla said. "Working with the Disasters Emergency Committee will help us scale up our response and reach more people in need."
The DEC brings 13 leading UK aid charities together in times of crisis: ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan International UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision; all collectively raising money to reach those in need quickly.
To find out more or to donate please the DEC WEBSITE
Follow DEC on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/DisastersEmergencyCommittee/?fref=ts
To make a donation to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal visit: http://www.dec.org.uk