East Africa Hunger Crisis FAQs

Acute malnutrition occurs when a child experiences a dramatic decrease in energy and nutrients over a short period of time. They no longer have a diet that is diverse or substantial enough to meet their minimal energy requirements. This results in wasting (where a child has a low weight for height ratio), or rapid weight loss, and means that a child has experienced a relatively sudden drop in food intake. This is usually due to a severe food shortage or period of illness.

Severe acute malnutrition is defined by a very low weight for height, visible severe wasting, or by the presence of nutritional oedema - the abnormal fluid retention in the tissues, resulting especially from lack of protein in states of starvation or malnutrition. Severe wasting needs to be treated with a medical intervention and feeding plan.

Malnutrition greatly increases the risk of children dying from common childhood diseases.  If they don’t receive treatment children who suffer from moderate acute malnutrition are 2.5 times more likely to die than a well-nourished child. If the malnutrition is severe, they are nine times more likely to die.
The issues facing the countries hit by the hunger crisis are extremely complex. Conflict, climate change, and various other factors compound to create an unstable environment and as a result countries like those currently affected are more susceptible to famine. Unfortunately the issues these countries face are long-term and there is no easy fix. 

World Vision works with communities over the long term to increase their resilience to external shocks, including drought. We have strong expertise in both responding to emergencies and helping communities become more resilient in the long-term. There are remarkable stories of long-term change and resilience in communities where World Vision works. For example in Kenya, a former World Vision community provided food aid to neighbouring communities after learning improved agricultural techniques. 

In South Sudan, World Vision is working to close the gap between emergency food assistance and long term development programming to provide greater resilience in the country. 
As an NGO, World Vision is independent, impartial, and politically neutral. We have a mandate to respond to humanitarian needs wherever they exist and on the basis of need alone.

In natural or conflict related crises the people who always suffer worst are the most vulnerable; mothers, children and the poorest of the poor. In the case of South Sudan these are not the people responsible for the crisis. Those worst affected did not cause the conflict and they have little ability to influence the course of it.
We cannot blame them for something they cannot control, any more than those affected by natural disasters, so instead we can support those affected by famine caused by factors outside their control.