Australian famine commitment a good first step

Australia’s decision to commit $15 million in emergency assistance to the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa and Yemen is a solid first step in addressing the crisis, the Help Fight Famine coalition said today.

The region is on the brink of widespread famine. Somalia is close to an official famine declaration while in Ethiopia more than 20 million people are in urgent need of food assistance. Globally, 50 million people in 45 countries on the brink of starvation. There are 828 million people going hungry every night.

The Government’s assistance will deliver food, water and other essential support through the World Food Programme  and the Emergency Action Alliance.

Help Fight Famine is an alliance of groups calling on the Commonwealth to go further with the following actions:

  • Deliver an urgent $150 million Famine Prevention Package to stop a catastrophe in the worst-affected hunger hotspots in the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen
  • Invest long-term in a targeted Global Food Security Strategy
  • Include measures to strengthen resilience of the Asia Pacific region to climate change, disasters, and economic shocks by increasing Australia’s development assistance

Help Fight Famine spokesman, Tim Costello, said today’s announcement was a solid foundation to build from.

“One of the key lessons from the previous famine in Somalia was the importance of moving swiftly. This crisis is well and truly upon us and people are already dying from hunger. The faster we move now, the more lives we save.

“Help Fight Famine recognises this commitment as a very solid foundation. We will continue to make the case for a full and robust commitment at the October Budget.

“Without a significant step up from the global community we willl witness a humanitarian catastrophe like the world has never seen. The looming famine will claim many more lives than COVID.

“Our ask of Government is reasonable and equates to little more than five dollars per Australian. The Australian people would happily part with such a modest sum to prevent children dying.”

Media contacts:

Matt Coughlan 0400 561 480