Africa Drought Appeal

A small group of families wait for transport to take their food home.
Note: This appeal is now closed. You can support our ongoing work by donating to the Canadian Red Cross.

Through the generous support of Canadians, as well as corporate and government donations, over $4.7 million was raised to support this operation.

The Crisis

 In early 2017, extreme food insecurity threatened millions of lives in many East and Central African countries.

Caused in part by persistent drought, the situation has had devastating effects, including hunger, malnutrition, disease, crop failures, decimated livestock and dry water sources.

Red Cross Response

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement supported a number of countries in East Africa to assist the most vulnerable and isolated communities.

Our work was focused on three priorities in the region:

  • Delivering relief in hard-to-reach and underserved areas to ensure that nobody is left behind.
  • Providing community-based healthcare to prevent and treat malnutrition and infectious disease (measles, malaria, diarrhea, etc.).
  • Supporting the local efforts of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and staff to build community resilience through programs that restore dignity, strengthen food security and support long-term development.

CRC contribution


The extreme drought that plagued Ethiopia since 2015 resulted in dry rivers, the loss of livestock and crops, and consequently, severe malnutrition and food insecurity.

The Canadian Red Cross supported Ethiopian Red Cross drought relief operations by providing vital assistance to some 30,000 people in the hard-hit district of Kindo Koysha.

  • Trucking in and storing clean drinking water
  • Distribution of nutritional supplements to women and children
  • Construction of two wells (in progress)
  • Provision of feed and veterinary care for livestock


In Somalia, years of insufficient rainfall combined with internal conflict pointed to dire outcomes in 2017.  By mid year, parts of the country faced a major cholera outbreak, made worse by drought conditions and the difficulties in accessing clean water.

In response to the outbreak, a Canadian Red Cross Cholera Treatment Centre was sent to assist efforts by the Somali Red Crescent Society to provide emergency, life-saving treatment services to affected people. In four months of operation, the centre treated more than 4,000 people with water-related diarrheal diseases. The centre was handed over to the Somali Red Crescent Society in September of 2017, with training and support being provided.

  • 1 Cholera Treatment Centre sent to Somaliland
  • A medical team of 29 health professionals
  • 4,000+ patients treated in four months


Ongoing conflict in South Sudan has resulted in not only the deaths of countless people, but also the collapse of the economy, skyrocketing food prices and the loss of crops and livestock.

The Canadian Red Cross is committed to helping this vulnerable population. Financial support was provided to assist emergency operations across the country, particularly in the communities most heavily affected, in the areas of:

  • Emergency food assistance
  • Clean water and sanitation
  • Seeds, tools, fishing equipment and livestock vaccinations to support livelihoods
  • Emergency medical care and emotional support


Millions of people have suffered the cumulative impact of years of conflict and violence and food and water shortages, following two consecutive seasons of poor rain fall. The crisis disrupted basic health services, production of food and trade as well as household livelihoods.

The Canadian Red Cross provided financial support to emergency operations, particularly in the communities most heavily affected, in the areas of:

  • Emergency food assistance
  • Primary health care, mobile clinics and psychosocial support
  • Clean water
  • Shelter and rebuilding support

Donor Reports

Last updated

December 2018