Oxfam reaction to FAO emergency ministerial follow-up meeting on the East Africa food crisis

Rome -- The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) held a follow-up meeting today to its 25 July Emergency Ministerial meeting examining the humanitarian crisis in East Africa. It focused on shortfalls in funding, immediate needs and longer term solutions.

In response to the meeting, the International Director of the international aid agency Oxfam Great Britain, Penny Lawrence, who is in Rome said:

“It is encouraging that we’ve seen a strong consensus today on how to tackle the root causes of the dire food crisis affecting nearly 12.5 million people in East Africa. However, goodwill is not enough to save people’s lives. We’ve known for some time that this tragedy was preventable, and the time for talk is over.

"Difficulties with faltering food reserves and getting that food to those who need it most are alarming, and it signals that food aid is only one part of the solution. There’s an immediate need for innovative cash assistance programmes to stimulate markets and secure people’s livelihoods. In particular, resources should be focused on bolstering small-scale farmers and pastoralists – especially women, who produce the majority of the food for families and communities.

"This week some rich countries and donors that were lagging behind have stepped up and pledged more funds. That money is urgently needed to put solutions that work into action in order to prevent further suffering and loss of life. Yet, there's a gaping hole of nearly $1 billion in funding for the emergency response not to mention for the longer road to recovery that will require sustained international investment

"The clock is ticking for East Africa and the African Union governments who are meeting next week must show their determination to make this Africa's last famine."

Notes to Editors:

Oxfam is appealing for $90 million in order to reach 3 million people with clean water, food and basic sanitation. So are we have raised $68 million and we are already helping 1 million people with aid: cash to buy food, drilling boreholes, cleaning and rehabilitating existing water supply points, and providing safe sanitation and health promotion.

Oxfam is providing both emergency aid to save lives now, and long term development to help communities in increasingly drought-prone regions cope. We are also appealing to governments and others to do more.

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Oxfam's humanitarian response in the East Africa food crisis

Contact information: 

In Rome:
Luca Chinotti
+39 348 998 7975
Luca.Chinotti@oxfaminternational.org

In the UK:
Roxanne Escobales
Mob. + 44 (0)7920 596 358
rescobales@oxfam.org.uk