Skip to content

Nyadeng is living in a temporary shelter in Ehtiopia.

More than 20 million people face starvation and famine in East Africa. Discover more about the crisis, the impact of food shortages on older people, and how you can help.

                   Donate                  

Why are people going hungry in East Africa?

Drought - caused by an El Niño weather phenomenon - has destroyed harvests, leaving people malnourished and desperate.

80-year-old Sadire remembers how it all began. 'The rainfall stopped. The farm animals had to be sold - first the goats and sheep and then the bulls and cows,' she says.

'Over the past 3 years, I've seen everything that I've built all my life drift away until eventually I'm left with nothing. I feel so helpless and alone. I fear for our survival.'

 £30 could feed two older people, for a month >

Famine declared in South Sudan

Angelina in a camp for displaced people, in Juba South Sudan.

Pictured: Angelina (64) in a camp for displaced people in South Sudan.

A famine is only declared when there is:

  • A daily death rate of more than 2 people per 10,000
  • Acute malnutrition rates of over 30%
  • 20% of households facing extreme food shortage

In South Sudan, drought has been made worse by 3 years of conflict. Violence has forced thousands to flee from their homes.

'My husband was killed in the war so now I’m alone with the children,' Angelina explains. 'Seeing my children almost starve always makes me stressed and uncomfortable. We wouldn’t survive without the aid we’re given.'

Donate now

Older people struggling without food and water

Emayu harvests firewood to sell after her crops failed

Pictured: Emayu (60) says 'This is the worst drought I have experienced in a long time’.

73% of older people in East Africa rely on farming to live; people like Emayu. Now, instead of farming, the 60-year-old grandmother must cut trees for firewood and then walk 3 hours to the local market.

£40 could buy drought-resistant seeds for 2 older farmers >

Not everyone can travel those long distances. Mary, 85, says 'I'm too weak to go to the market. My feet are swollen and I've lost my sight. It's become risky for me to go out and about.'

'We're becoming weaker and weaker'

86-year-old Oboch is interviewed about the famine in South Sudan.

Pictured: Oboch (86) says 'We’re extremely helpless’.

'When I wake up each day, the first thing I think about is what my grandchildren will eat,' says Achol, a 63-year-old grandmother from South Sudan.

'It’s a daily struggle for us to get enough to survive. Sometimes they cry - and I cry too, because I feel guilty for not providing for them.'

86-year-old Oboch adds: 'We’re extremely helpless. We’re becoming weaker and weaker due to a lack of good food.'

Age International in East Africa

Age International helps older people to survive emergencies; we seek out the most vulnerable and provide age-friendly emergency aid. We are working to:

  • Get food to malnourished people
  • Help them access safe drinking water

We have already:

  • Distributed drought-resistant seeds for planting
  • Repaired and improved wells and land-pumps
  • Given out water purification chemicals and water collection and storage materials

We are currently reaching older people in:

  • Ethiopia
  • South Sudan
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Yemen
  • Uganda
Donate now

Give to East Africa

Please, donate to East Africa and help an older person survive drought and hunger.

Donate now

During emergencies like this, older people are particularly vulnerable; they have specialist nutritional needs and they can't always travel the long distances needed to find food and water.

Tell others

Help spread the word about our work to help older people living in poverty.

Explore our site


Women who has dementia with carer and doctor

Women and dementia

The impact of dementia is much greater for women Learn more...

An older woman in Ethiopia.

East Africa Crisis

How food shortages are impacting older people Discover more...

Philippines typhoon 2013

During emergencies

Find out why older people are particularly vulnerable Emergency response...

Daw Thein has blood pressure taken

Treating Daw Thein

See inside one of our pop-up doctor's clinics Read her story...

Sponsor a grandparent like Mu Naung

Be part of the family

Get regular letters from a Grandparent like Daw Mu Naung Sponsor a Grandparent...