Most Australians unaware of millions of people starving

12 Jun 2017   |   Ethiopia   |   Emergency Relief   |   Malawi   |   South Sudan

Two thirds of Australians are unaware or know very little about the 23 million people facing starvation in East Africa and Yemen, according to new polling data. This is almost the population of Australia.

Although the Australian community is largely unaware of it, this is the largest humanitarian disaster since the Second World War.

“In response to the Ethiopian famine of 1984, hundreds of thousands of Australians took action,” said Paul O’Callaghan, Caritas Australia CEO.

“They were generous with donations and many became part of a global movement led by Bono and the Live Aid concerts to end hunger and poverty.

“This time the scale is larger but it is just not on our radar.

“Our independent polling shows that nearly 25% of Australians would be willing to donate if they knew there was a famine in Africa affecting millions of people. 

“I’ve just returned from Kenya, where I saw the huge level of human suffering first hand. Three million in that country alone are going hungry.

“The human needs in the countries impacted by this famine are so critical and we in Australia can make a difference.”

Caritas Australia is the Catholic agency for International Aid and Development and as part of the Caritas Internationalis network, has helped provide lifesaving support to over half a million people impacted by the famine.

“We are seeking donations to scale up our efforts and get food and water to people and communities in dire need,” said Mr O'Callaghan.

To donate to the Africa Emergency Appeal visit or phone 1800 024 413.

Caritas media contact: Nicole Clements on 0408 869 833 or Susan Duric on 0407 536 130 or email

Back to Newsroom