Aid Groups Call on European Leaders to Urgently Prioritize Forgotten Crises in East and Central Africa

18 March 2024

Aid Groups Call on European Leaders to Urgently Prioritize Forgotten Crises in East and Central Africa, Enhance Diplomatic Engagement and Increase Funding for Durable and Long-Term SolutionsAid Groups Call on European Leaders to Urgently Prioritize Forgotten Crises in East and Central Africa, Enhance Diplomatic Engagement and Increase Funding for Durable and Long-Term Solutions. 

As European Union (EU) Institutions and Member States meet in Brussels, Belgium this week to discuss today’s most pressing humanitarian crises, the InterAgency Working Group for East and Central Africa (IAWG) calls on EU leaders to urgently fund the response to the multiple protracted crises affecting millions of people in East and Central Africa. In parallel, greater diplomatic engagement is needed to bring an end to conflicts ravaging the region, and its population.

At a time when humanitarian funding is contracting, the number of people in need of assistance is on the rise. 2023 witnessed a surge in humanitarian needs in East Africa, with over 105 million people experiencing food insecurity, displacement, and increased vulnerability to disease, compared to 90 million in 2022. Populations in East and Central Africa are facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity, with around 90 million people facing acute hunger. Despite this, the Eastern and Central Africa regions fell far short of receiving the aid needed, with only 45.4% received of the US$13 billion requested under the different United Nations Appeals in 2023.

In Sudan, violent conflict has been ravaging large parts of the country for almost one year, compounding an already-dire humanitarian situation such that the country is now the world’s worst displacement crisis, with almost 2.7 million refugees displaced or returning into neighbouring countries, and over 8.6 million people internally displaced. Furthermore, 18 million people are acutely food insecure, and projections show that unless immediate action is taken, the worst-affected populations--namely in Khartoum and West Darfur--will face catastrophic levels of hunger in the upcoming lean season.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of the Congo faces one of the most complex and protracted humanitarian crises in the world following decades of clashes between armed groups leading to multifaceted challenges faced by its population. Today, more than 6.1 million people are displaced within the country and nearly 1 million people have sought asylum in neighboring countries – yet with over 26.4 million people needing humanitarian assistance, the global humanitarian response for the DRC was only 40% funded in 2023. The neglect also continues with the recent resurgence of hostilities in Eastern DRC which has received little to no attention or reaction from the international community.

“The humanitarian situation in East and Central Africa is highly complex, involving a myriad of challenges driven by climate change, recent and protracted conflicts, macro-economic shocks and wider global crises that have increased the scale of need and vulnerability in the region while also impeding timely and scaled-up responses,” said Peter Burgess, Director of the IAWG. “Humanitarian funding is consistently falling short of meeting needs, with humanitarian actors expected to do more with less and make difficult choices.”

While humanitarian actors respond as best as we can to increasing needs, it is critical that the international community calls for sustainable and peaceful resolution to conflicts and works actively to ensure that meaningful dialogue and negotiations take place.

“Funding is a critical component of the humanitarian response, but it is only part of the equation,” added Burgess. “More international political action and will are urgently needed to help bring on-going conflicts to an end, notably the one in Sudan. Additionally, belligerents in all countries across the region must meet their own responsibilities to protect the lives, assets and livelihoods of civilians in conflict-affected areas.”

Now is the time to act decisively to mitigate the risk of further destabilization, which poses a threat to the safety and well-being of countless individuals in the region. The humanitarian crises in the region, particularly those driven by conflict, require a comprehensive approach that addresses both immediate needs and supports long-term solutions through the engagement of developmental and political actors and resources - as well as of the parties to conflict.

The Inter-Agency Working Group is a regional coordination and advocacy platform of NGOs working in East and Central Africa.



The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD)


Concern Worldwide

Danish Refugee Council (DRC)

International Rescue Committee


Islamic Relief

Mercy Corps 

Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)


Relief International 

Save the Children

World Vision