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Emergency Response

Response to Crisis in Horn of Africa

15 July 2011

The United Church of Canada is deeply concerned about the emergency situation now affecting several countries in the Horn of Africa—Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, and the Karamoja region of Uganda. On July 20, 2011, the United Church launched an appeal in response to this crisis and is currently inviting donations. Our hearts go out to the millions of people affected by what our regional partners there say is the worst drought to hit the region in 60 years.

The United Church is immediately responding with a commitment of $50,000 to the humanitarian relief work of ACT Alliance and partners such as the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) and the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), who work through their member churches to respond to the immediate needs of people affected.

In addition to this financial commitment, the church welcomes its members to join in prayer and support.

How You Can Help


  • Pray for the millions of people facing drought, hunger, and conflict.
  • Pray for the host communities in the region who welcome those seeking refuge from the drought and conflict in their home countries.
  • Pray for United Church Mission and Service partners and humanitarian relief agencies working to meet the needs of those affected.
  • Pray that regional governments and the international community will work together to address the current crisis, and to reduce the effects of future droughts in this and other regions of the world.


Please provide your support today. All donations received and designated for "Horn of Africa Drought Relief" will be applied directly to support United Church partners in this work.

Please donate online now.  (Your gift will be processed immediately and you will receive your tax receipt right away.)

Or you may mail your gift to:

  • The United Church of Canada
    3250 Bloor St. West, Suite 300
    Toronto, ON M8X 2Y4

    * Please be sure to note "Emergency Response - Horn of Africa" on the face of your cheque.

Horn of Africa Donations FAQ [PDF: 3 pp/188 KB] answers some common questions received by the General Council Office since the launch of the Emergency Appeal, and also provides guidelines for treasurers and congregations dealing with Horn of Africa donations. The following spreadsheet template is intended as an easy summary for treasurers creating Horn of Africa donation lists to send to General Council Office (available in 2 formats).

The church's initial rapid commitment of $50,000 to this crisis has been possible thanks to the United Church's Emergency Response Fund, which retains 15 percent of emergency donations to provide the capacity to rapidly respond to emergencies as they occur.

See also the Emergency Appeal video we have just posted on The United Church of Canada’s YouTube channel.


Learn what United Church partner ACT Alliance is doing for Horn of Africa Drought Relief


The NCCK is working with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to respond to the needs of Somali refugees in Dadaab camp, as thousands of Somalis in particular are seriously affected by the drought. Many of the refugees arriving at the Dadaab Refugee Camp in northeastern Kenya (near the border with Somalia) have also been fleeing ongoing civil war in Somalia. Children, the elderly, and women are particularly affected by the drought and food insecurity.

United Church partners and ACT Alliance tell us that the current food insecurity has been made worse by the skyrocketing food prices in those areas where food is available. The OAIC is concerned that drought and famine now appear to be perennial, and that the repeating famine cycles also reflect major policy gaps at the national and international levels regarding food and agriculture. The OAIC is working on increasing the knowledge of its member churches on major policy issues around food security, so they can advocate with their governments for policy improvement.

According to the humanitarian news service IRIN, the consensus suggests that this drought is an impact of the particularly strong La Niña event and that it may be too soon to attribute it to climate change. However, partners in the region reflect that the effects of climate change appear to exacerbate the effects of naturally occurring weather phenomena such as La Niña.

For current updates, visit ACT Alliance , the humanitarian news service IRIN , the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation , or the British Broadcasting Corporation sites.

For more program information contact:

  • Wendy Gichuru
    Program Coordinator, Africa and Middle East Partnerships
    Partners in Mission Unit
    Tel: 416-231-7680 ext. 4038
    Toll-free: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 4038
    E-mail: Wendy Gichuru
  • Gary Kenny
    Program Coordinator, Emergency Response and International Development
    Partners in Mission Unit
    Tel: 416-231-7680, ext. 4051
    Toll-free: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 4051
    E-mail: Gary Kenny
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