Australian famine package an important step forward

Campaigns and Advocacy, Foreign aid, Media Releases article written on the 13 Feb 2023

The Australian Government’s decision to pledge $25 million in support to ease growing hunger in the Horn of Africa, Pakistan and Yemen will provide food, water and essential support, the Help Fight Famine campaign coalition said today.

The Horn of Africa is at the centre of the global food crisis. In Somalia, 11.8 per cent of children are suffering malnutrition and 90 per cent of the population have insufficient food.

Of the $25 million to be announced, $15 million will be directed to the Horn of Africa with $5 million directed to Pakistan (which has experienced devastating floods) and another $5 million to Yemen.

Help Fight Famine brings together Australian organisations and individuals who want Australia to support immediate relief to the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa and to urgently commit $150 million to avert catastrophe in the worst-affected hunger hotspots. The Australian Government is also being urged to commit to a famine to a longer term global food strategy, leveraging Australia’s scientific expertise and diplomacy.

HFF has campaigned for and won $40m in funding for the global hunger crisis and food-related emergencies with $15m last year from the government and this extra $25m today.

Help Fight Famine spokesperson and Oxfam Australia Acting Chief Executive Anthea Spinks welcomed the Government’s announcement.

“This is an important commitment from the Australian Government and it will save lives. We know that the earlier we intervene with support, the greater the chance of averting an absolute catastrophe.

“No Australian would be comfortable to sit by and watch as children starve. The Australian Government has taken an important step to assist.

“Help Fight Famine strongly endorses this commitment. We stand ready to work with Government to develop a longer term strategy to address the root causes of hunger such as climate change and conflict.”

Save the Children Australia CEO Mat Tinkler said Save the Children strongly welcomed the funding.

“This commitment from the Australian Government will go a long way to saving the lives of vulnerable children in countries facing the brunt of this global hunger crisis.

“We’re grateful that the seven Australian MPs who travelled to Kenya with Save the Children last year have returned home and echoed the calls for immediate action to help fight famine.”

 Key facts and figures:

  • The Horn of Africa is on the brink of famine after five drought seasons, with a likely sixth on the way, and exceptionally high food prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.
  • 14.8 million of Somalia’s 16.4 million people are suffering from insufficient food consumption
  • A record 349 million across 79 countries are facing acute food insecurity.
  • More than 900,000 people globally are fighting to survive in famine-like conditions

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