East Africa Hunger Crisis

A complex hunger crisis driven by drought, conflict and political instability has left over 24 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda in need of life-saving assistance.

people are in crisis and in need of humanitarian assistance
of the population of South Sudan are severely food insecure
children under-5 are acutely malnourished

World Vision has reached 3.5 million people across East Africa

World Vision has reached 3.5 million people across East Africa

It is not too late to save children’s lives

The hunger crisis across South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya is forcing millions from their homes in search food and water causing children to leave behind their education and their future. Uganda is now host to over one million refugees fleeing conflict in South Sudan with more arriving every day.

As many as 6 million children across East Africa are struggling with acute malnutrition and need emergency nutrition to prevent lifelong damage or death. We’re on the ground responding to the rising malnutrition rates, the mass displacement of people and the ongoing drought.

We're on the ground

We're on the ground

We are providing healthcare and nutrition to those in need by giving malnourished children lifesaving nutrition and educating pregnant women and new mothers on how to stay healthy.

We are supplying clean and safe water to thousands of displaced people and refugees by treating water with purification sachets, trucking water into internally displaced camps and providing safe water storage containers.

We are putting children first by providing education to children forced out of school and offering psychosocial support to young people affected by the crisis.


World Vision is on the ground, helping those most affected by the crisis. Your donations to the East Africa Hunger Crisis will enable us to support the health, nutrition, child protection, livelihoods, shelter, education and water and sanitation needs of the most vulnerable children and families across all countries affected by the crisis – South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda.  

World Vision is committed to ensuring the highest proportion of the money you donate gets to those in need. Last year 80.4 percent of the money received by World Vision New Zealand funded our development work overseas.
In response to the growing crisis in East Africa, the New Zealand Government has partnered with World Vision to provide essential aid in South Sudan.
The partnership between World Vision and the New Zealand Government will provide food security and increased water and sanitation for nearly 20,000 internally displaced people and host community members in two UN Protection of Civilians sites in Melut, Upper Nile.
The project will provide 1,000 households with vegetable kits, 20 farmers groups with water pumps for vegetable production, and train 1,000 people in improved agricultural practises and post-harvest management. World Vision will train 60 people in nursery establishment (tree nurseries) and management including the distribution of 2,000 tree seedlings. Two new water points will be constructed and 100 shared household latrines will be built. The project will reach 14,000 people with hygiene promotion messaging, training hygiene promoters, and setting up school hygiene clubs.

This project will help the community respond to the current food crisis, and build long-term resilience through enhanced farming capabilities.
World Vision is on the ground, helping those most affected by the crisis. Your donations to the East Africa Hunger Crisis will enable us to support the health, nutrition, child protection, livelihoods, shelter, education and water and sanitation needs of the most vulnerable children and families. Our response to the crisis varies in each country to meet specific needs: 

South Sudan
  • Screening and treating children for malnutrition 
  • Distributing emergency food
  • Educating pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Enrolling children in education in internally displaced people camps
  • Creating Child Friendly Spaces
  • Trucking drinking water into displaced persons camps
  • Screening and treating children for malnutrition 
  • Drilling and rehabilitating boreholes and supplying water tanks to schools
  • Distributing water purification tablets
  • Starting cash for work programmes
  • Creating Child Friendly Spaces
  • Enrolling displaced children in local schools
  • Training health workers in how to manage severe acute malnutrition
  • Distributing emergency food 
  • Providing medical supplies to health clinics
  • Distributing seeds to plants for harvests
  • Providing school support for displaced children
  • Screening and treating children for malnutrition 
  • Supporting health clinics with supplies and personnel
  • Trucking drinking water into displaced persons camps
  • Distributing emergency food
  • Screening and treating children for malnutrition 
  • Distributing non-food essential items. 
The cause of the East Africa hunger crisis is a complex combination of long term conflict, drought, and poor governance, and it has left over 24 million people across East Africa in urgent need of life saving assistance. 

The hunger crisis is forcing people to migrate into areas affected by conflict and putting children at huge risk of violence, exploitation and abuse. There are more than 6 million displaced and increasing fragility in the region, exacerbating the need to assist in multiple areas and contexts.
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.

We ensure all resources entrusted to us are used effectively to bring maximum impact.



As part of an international partnership working in nearly 100 countries, World Vision New Zealand pursues the highest standards of stewardship and accountability.

In 2020, 83.9% of World Vision New Zealand's total operating expenses were used for international program support that benefited children, families and communities in need. Learn more.
Your donation today will save lives across East Africa