Across Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Somalia, over 20 million people are on the brink of starvation. The Masonic Charitable Foundation has been among the first to respond, making an emergency grant of £100,000 to Plan International.
Drought, disease, conflict and displacement in the region have led to the first declaration of famine anywhere in the world in over six years and the UN has warned that the world is now facing the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945.
The grant will help Plan International to provide lifesaving support to over 970,000 people in East Africa, focusing on supporting vulnerable children and their families. This donation will help them to distribute food packages, water purification and hygiene kits. They will also provide school meals to ensure children can resume their education, as well as ensuring vulnerable children are protected from violence and abuse.
Tanya Barron, Chief Executive of Plan International UK, said: “We’re enormously grateful to the Freemasons for their very generous grant. More than 800,000 children under five are severely malnourished. This grant will help us reach affected children and their families with urgent support.”
With predictions of further poor rainfall coupled with pockets of rising conflict, the situation is likely to deteriorate. Due to the scale of this disaster, swift humanitarian assistance is essential and the Masonic Charitable Foundation is committed to supporting communities who have been affected.
David Innes, Chief Executive of the Masonic Charitable Foundation said: "The crisis in East Africa is one of the worst we have seen in many years and funds are needed now to provide lifesaving support to those affected. The Masonic Charitable Foundation is proud to be one of the first organisations to support this urgent appeal by providing a £100,000 grant to Plan International on behalf of Freemasons across England and Wales."
Plan International UK is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee, which this week launched an East Africa Crisis appeal. The DEC is made up of 13 leading aid agencies who together are responding to the food crisis in the region.