HelpAge International and Age UK statement : DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal helps 1.3 million people

8 January 2012

Today's announcement that 1.3 million people have been helped, just six months after DEC member agencies launched an appeal for East Africa, is testament to the generosity of everyone who contributed to the £75 million* raised for life-saving aid.

DEC member, Age UK, and sister organisation, HelpAge International, have been working tirelessly to ensure funds are invested in helping vulnerable older people in Ethiopia and Kenya.

As the only international organisations working specifically to meet the needs, uphold the rights and recognise the capacities of older people in humanitarian disasters, our aid efforts have been focused on helping older people at risk of malnutrition, abandonment and abuse.

In Ethiopia, food has been provided to over 3,500 older people and their families (approximately 24,500 people). Older people have also benefited from: improved access to healthcare, reliable and clean water sources and cash transfers to 4,800 households.

However, the humanitarian need is still critical. For example, in displacement camps in Dollo Ado, Kenya, just two kilometres from the Somali border, there are more than 100,000 Somali refugees, only a small proportion of these are older people: 0.85% compared to an average of 4.3% of older people in Somalia. The low number of older people in the refugee camps implies many have been left behind in Somalia, without care or protection.

HelpAge International CEO, Richard Blewitt, said:

"Over the next 18 months we will scale up our work to help over 100,000 older people and their families begin to rebuild their lives in Kenya and Ethiopia. This work will include: improving food supplies, healthcare provision, employment opportunities and helping communities prepare for future emergencies.

"The sheer scale and long-term roots of the East Africa crisis calls for a sustainable response and investment; there is still much more to do. Older people remain one of the most vulnerable, yet invisible, groups of people in emergencies, often prioritising children and other dependants when food is available. Older people need tailored responses. We will continue working with local partners, so they can go on playing a vital role in their communities."

Age UK CEO, Tom Wright, added:

"We are extremely grateful to the UK public for their extraordinary contribution which has allowed our organisations to reach thousands of vulnerable older people in the region. Without this we would not be able to continue our life-saving work."

The DEC today commented that in most areas of Kenya and Ethiopia increasing amounts of aid are getting through, harvests are being reaped in many areas and rains are making more pasture available for surviving livestock.

In the first six months of the DEC-funded response agency members planned that 35% of money spent would provide aid for people affected in Somalia, 34% in Kenya, 30% in Ethiopia and 1% in South Sudan. Full details of income and expenditure from the appeal will be published in July 2012 as part of the DEC's annual report process.


Notes to editors

  • HelpAge International is a global network of organisations helping older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives -

Further information

Read more on our emergencies blog.

Age UK is raising money together with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) for the East Africa Crisis. The DEC is a consortium of 14 aid agencies working together.

Age UK provides core funding to HelpAge International.

Age UK works in partnership with Age Cymru, Age Scotland and Age NI. For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age UK Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age UK Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.


*The DEC collected £37.5m directly, the other £37.5m being collected as part of the DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal through member agencies which will account for these funds individually.

The DEC Appeal was announced on 6 July 2011 and launched on 8 July with the broadcast of appeals on the BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4.

The DEC member agencies are: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Merlin, Oxfam, Plan UK, Save the Children, Tearfund and World Vision.

The DEC East Africa Crisis Appeal will remain open until 31 January 2012; all funds will be spent by July 2013.

To stay up to date with the emergency response in East Africa "Like" the DEC on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

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