- 62% of young (18-34 year old) US respondents believe the international community has a responsibility to help countries in crisis like Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia to lessen the impact of climate change.
- 69% of US respondents were not aware there was a drought in East Africa before taking this poll.
- 61% of young (18-34 year old) US respondents believe countries around the world should help prevent a famine in East Africa through means like funding and political action.
- 57% of US respondents feel politicians are not doing enough to address the issues of climate change and related food shortages.
New York, NY, September 6, 2022 — As over 20 million people teeter on the brink of famine in East Africa, a new poll conducted by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in conjunction with YouGov shows the majority of the American public believe countries around the world should help prevent a famine in East Africa through means like funding and political action.
Young Americans feel especially passionate about the issue of climate-induced hunger with 61% agreeing that countries around the world should help prevent a famine in East Africa. More than half of young respondents feel politicians are not doing enough to address the issues of climate change and related food shortages, and believe the international community has a responsibility to help countries in crisis like Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia to lessen the impact of climate change.
After four consecutive seasons without adequate rainfall, East Africa is seeing its worst drought in 40 years with up to 26 million people at risk of going hungry in the region by February 2023 - a doubling in a year. With 2 million children on the brink of starving, the IRC is echoing the concern of the American public and calling for world leaders to pay urgent and immediate attention to the catastrophic drought across East Africa.
David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee said, “There is clear bipartisan consensus across the US on the need to do more and do so urgently to avert climate change-induced famine in East Africa. The worst drought in forty years is symptomatic of the growing impact of climate change and the international neglect that allows hunger to run rampant, particularly in countries already reeling from conflict. The US public, especially youth, are in agreement: global leaders must do more to counter the worst effects of climate change, especially on the world’s most vulnerable.
This week, new analysis shows that famine is imminent in Somalia without urgent action. By the time a famine is declared, it will already be too late, with thousands having already lost their lives. This tragic loss of life is preventable today and in the future, through a mixture of scaling up of treatment of acute and severe malnutrition through proven solutions such as the IRC’s Combined Protocol and increased funding and attention to life-saving drought response programmes. The worst outcome of East Africa’s hunger crisis is to allow history to repeat itself, allowing a return to the devastation we saw during the 2011 famine.
“This mounting crisis in East Africa is another painful reminder of how the challenges the world faces are connected and often exacerbate one another, particularly when the systems meant to respond to these challenges lack vigor, focus and accountability. This dynamic must be front of mind for the world’s representatives as they gather soon for the UN General Assembly in New York, and afterwards at COP27. Crises that cut across borders can only be effectively met with a response that reaches across borders.
The leaders gathering in New York have an opportunity to demonstrate they're listening to global concern about the crisis in East Africa by increasing humanitarian funding to allow the urgent scale up of assistance to those facing famine. East Africa should also serve as a stark warning of the cost of inaction as the international community responds to other countries at risk of famine in the coming months and years.”
East Africa is home to some of the IRC’s longest-running programs globally, with operations in Somalia for over 40 years, Kenya for 30 years and Ethiopia for 20 years. Today, over 2,000 IRC staff in the region are scaling up our programs to address the current drought and rising food insecurity, including expanding to new areas to meet severe needs.
Additional poll results:
- 56% of respondents feel drought is influenced by climate change out of which 87% feel it is a concern.
- Out of the 41% who feel climate change influences global hunger, 75% of 18-34 year olds in the US are very concerned about the impact of climate change on global hunger
- *** Full raw data is available through contacting the IRC.
ABOUT THE IRC
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC works in more than 40 countries and in 28 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.
YouGov is an international research data and analytics group with a presence in over 55 markets across the globe. YouGov has the largest research online panel in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, with hundreds of thousands of people enrolled in their surveys* across 21 countries. The survey, which was commissioned by International Rescue Committee (IRC) and rolled out as an online survey, aimed to assess the concern for climate change of more than 3,000 respondents, representative of the UK and US demographics.*Polls are the reflection of public opinions, while interpretation of such data and further extrapolations have to be taken with caution.