£42m raised for East Africa appeal

The British public has donated £42 million in just over three weeks to help drought victims in East Africa, it was announced today.

More than £1 million of that amount was raised by donors using SMS texting to send money.



The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an umbrella organisation for 14 of the UK's leading aid agencies, said the show of generosity was "a wonderful example of public concern" for those affected by the region's worst drought for 60 years but added the crisis is getting worse.



The DEC East Africa Appeal said more than 10 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and the newly formed Republic of South Sudan are in need of food, water and emergency healthcare.



Brendan Gormley, chief executive of the charity group, said: "To raise £42 million in just over three weeks is a wonderful demonstration of public concern for those in need.



"We can't lose sight of the fact, however, that this is an escalating crisis. It is now for the UN to act and for governments worldwide to dig deep to alleviate the suffering.



"The UN assessment of what is needed in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, for example, stands at nearly 2.5 billion US dollars (£1.5 billion). Less than half of that has so far been received from donor nations.



"Similarly, in South Sudan, the UN has called for 620 million dollars (£381 million), much of which is to tackle food shortages caused in the fragile new state by drought and displacement. The amount that has actually been raised is 324 million dollars (£199 million)."



The drought in parts of East Africa has devastated cattle and crops, with problems expected to be compounded by a poor coming harvest.



The situation is so serious that famine has been declared in two regions of Somalia, with other areas expected to follow, the DEC said.



Speaking of the surge in donations through text message, Polly Gilchrist, fundraising manager at the DEC, said: "We are delighted to have shown that there is a new audience out there that want a quick and easy way to make donations in a way that is relevant to them. Asking people to use their mobiles has paid dividends.



"This lays to rest scepticism about whether texting works as a method of giving funds.



"As of today we have raised £1,063,000 by this method, which with Gift Aid comes to more than £1,250,000.



"This is over 500% more than we have raised from texting in the past. It is also encouraging that more than 60% of SMS donors have responded to the request for Gift Aid details, which means nearly 25% can be added to the value of their donations."









The donations announcement comes as tens of thousands of famine-stricken Somali refugees were left cold and drenched after torrential rains pounded their makeshift structures in the capital, as the UN raised concerns that renewed conflict in the country may jeopardise relief work.



Rains are needed to plant crops and alleviate the drought that has led to famine in Somalia, but added to the misery of many refugees who live in structures made of sticks, flattened milk cans and pieces of cloth.



Refugees in several camps in Mogadishu have said that more aid is needed.



Refugee Abdi Muse Abshir said: "We are living in plight, we left our homes, lost our animals and farms so we ask everyone to help us to survive."



Lul Hussein, a mother of five, said her family had a sleepless night after their makeshift home crumbled.



"We are starved and we don't have enough help," she said. "Who's helping us? No one. So we are already between death and bad life."



Aid agencies have limited reach in Somalia where Islamist militants are waging an insurgency against the country's weak UN-backed government.



The UN fears tens of thousands already have died in Somalia in areas held by the Islamist rebels because food aid could not reach them.



On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI urged the world not to forget the victims of famine in the Horn of Africa during his weekly blessing to pilgrims.



"It is forbidden to be indifferent in the face of the tragedy of the starving," the Pope said from his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, Italy.



The Pope invited the faithful "to think of the many brothers and sisters who in these days, in the Horn of Africa, are suffering the dramatic consequences of famine, aggravated by war and the absence of solid institutions".





PA

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders