U.K. Government’s Funding Announcement for the Hunger Crisis in the Horn of Africa is welcome, but still dwarfed by the scale of the needs

25 May 2023

Following yesterday’s High-level Pledging Event to Support the Humanitarian Response in the Horn of Africa, Mercy Corps is deeply concerned about the likely consequences of a major funding shortfall. While Mercy Corps applauds U.K. Government’s announcement of £143 million to six countries in East Africa, this is still dwarfed by the scale of the needs. Across the Horn of Africa, at least 43.3 million require lifesaving and life-sustaining assistance with the worsening climate crisis already claiming at least 43,000 lives in Somalia alone last year. 

Mercy Corps Executive Director for Europe, Harpinder Collacott says: 

“Without an urgent ramping up of funding and concerted action, communities across the Horn of Africa will still struggle to feed their families and meet even basic household needs until at least late this year. This announcement does not meet the scale of the need, nor does it represent the U.K.’s fair share of a global response.”

“The deadly convergence of the climate crisis in the Horn of Africa, conflict, and a worsening global food catastrophe is costing lives today, with over 32 million people now facing extreme hunger in the region. Addressing this requires sustained investments alongside immediate humanitarian assistance. With climate change making these disasters more frequent and severe, meaningful investments in resilience are needed at scale to help equip people to endure climatic shocks and recover from them.  

While the UK’s contribution is welcome, much more needs to be done.  This is just a fraction of the over £800 million the U.K. committed in 2017. We know the U.K. is looking to become a ‘development superpower’ once again, today’s announcement may be an effort to move in that direction but makes it clear there is still a very long way to go.”

Mercy Corps has worked in the Horn of Africa since 2004. We have partnered with communities and governments to support economic development, management of natural resources such as water and grazing land, and improved governance and peacebuilding.