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Andrew Mitchell MP announces help for 1 million drought victims on visit to East Africa

Sutton Coldfield's MP Andrew Mitchell has visited Kenya in his capacity as International Development Secretary where he announced a new package of UK support for those suffering from the worst droughts East Africa has seen in 60 years. (Photo: Pete Lewis)

Andrew Mitchell MP said, "The British Government will provide emergency assistance for more than 1 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia as the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa worsens."

Mr Mitchell visited Dadaab refugee camp, where he met families forced to leave their homes in Somalia in order to survive. He also visited a hospital in northern Kenya, where he saw Save the Children's life-saving work with acutely malnourished Kenyan children.

The £52.25 million package announced this week will provide emergency assistance to:

  • 500,000 people in Somalia, including treatment for nearly 70,000 acutely malnourished children
  • over 130,000 people in Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya, including access to clean drinking water and health care for one third of refugees
  • over 100,000 people in Dolo Ado refugee camps in Ethiopia, including access to shelter, clean drinking water and treatment for starving children
  • 300,000 Kenyans, including special rations to prevent malnutrition in children under the age of five and breastfeeding mothers.

Andrew Mitchell MP said, "People across Britain have responded with great generosity to appeals by British charities working in the Horn of Africa. But the situation is getting worse - and is particularly devastating in Somalia, where families already have to cope with living in one of the most insecure countries in the world.

"More than 3,000 people every day are fleeing over the borders to Ethiopia and Kenya, many of them arriving with starving children. The international community must do more to help not only refugees but also those victims of the drought who remain in Somalia."

Brendan Gormley, Head of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) and Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children, accompanied Mr Mitchell on the visit.

Head of DEC, Brendan Gormley, said, "The need to scale up the response to this disaster is urgent so I am extremely pleased that the Secretary of State has announced this further UK government funding today.

"Combined with the extraordinary generosity of the UK public to the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal, we can truly say that the UK is playing a leading role in responding to this disaster.

"There is still however a great deal more to be done before we can say we have safeguarded the lives of the 10 million people at risk."

Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children said, "Over the past few days, I've seen first hand the enormous suffering the drought is causing in the Dadaab refugee camp and across northern Kenya. Families I've met are absolutely desperate for food and water, and we know that the situation in Somalia is even worse.

"The UK government's extremely welcome announcement, combined with the overwhelming response of the British people, will help save hundreds of thousands of lives threatened by the worst drought in living memory."

Photos: (Top) Dadaab, Kenya (Photo: Thomas Mukoya, Reuters), (Middle) Andrew Mitchell at the MSF hospital in Wajir, Kenya (Photo: Thomas Mukoya, Reuters), (Bottom) Andrew Mitchell with Save the Children Chief Executive Justin Forsyth at Dadaab, Kenya (Photo: Pete Lewis)

Andrew Mitchell with Save the Children Chief Executive Justin Forsyth at Dadaab, Kenya (Photo: Pete Lewis)

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