Responding to older people in East Africa facing
hunger, thirst, and poor health

Millions of older people are at risk of starvation in Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan, as they face the worst drought in over 40 years.  

Among 1,192 older people interviewed in the three countries by HelpAge, 73% said they do not have enough food. In Ethiopia, 92% reported going hungry. Half of older people report they do not have access to safe drinking water. Many pre-existing water sources have dried up and available water points can be far away and hard to reach, particularly for those who have difficulty walking.

Millions are facing starvation and malnutrition

Farmers who rely on livestock have had their herds decimated.

In past droughts, farmers could typically migrate to find better pastureland. If necessary, they could use their animals for food or sell them. Now, thousands of farmers have had their herds decimated. Many fear leaving their homes as people are being killed for searching for pastures beyond their tribal lands.

Older people are particularly at risk.

In many cases, their adult children have left their villages to seek economic opportunities in other locations. Older people take on significant caregiving responsibilities at a time that they may struggle to feed themselves: 88% reported they care for at least one of their grandchildren, with the average older person caring for more than five.

Malicha Guyo Liban, 66 years old, owned 130 cows and has lost his entire herd. He explains, “All the pasturelands are bare. Ponds have dried up. Our cows have nothing to eat … Eventually, I took all my cows to a nearby district called Miyo about 50 miles from my village. I found the same situation there, so I immediately returned, and the cows started dying on the road home.”

Our Response

HelpAge has initiated an emergency response to support thousands of older people by providing cash, food supplies, clean water, crop seeds, and goats. It is also drilling and rehabilitating wells and supports malnutrition screening for 1,600 older people in South Sudan.  Your donation can help us to provide older people in East Africa with desperately needed support.

How you can help older people in East Africa

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