In February, famine conditions were declared in parts of South Sudan and Somalia by the United Nations. It has affected approximately 16 million people, including those in neighboring areas of Kenya and Ethiopia.
“When I visited South Sudan, I saw for myself how families are suffering,” Knightley said in a press statement. “They’re not just pictures in the news, they’re people. “Right now, millions of people across East Africa are at risk of starvation if we don’t act. That’s a delay that will actually cost lives. It already is. Don’t delay, donate.”
The appeal from the DEC, the banner under which 13 U.K. aid charities combine to tackle aid crises, has also been backed by actors Bill Nighy and Eddie Redmayne.
“In South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia, the plight and suffering is on a scale never seen before,” Redmayne said in a press statement. “Where there were rivers, not even a drop of water now. Where there was livestock, now just carcasses and bones. People can’t wait any longer.”
The DEC appeal raised more than $24 million (£30 million) in its first week, however, it is dwarfed by the $4.4 billion U.N. experts estimate governments and charities from around the world will need to avert a famine.
Knightley and Nighy are also helping raise funds for Comic Relief, appear in a special TV sequel to the 2003 film Love Actually, airing as part of the British charity’s Red Nose Day telethon.
Redmayne is also helping Comic Relief, having voiced a special audiobook version of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, the film adaptation of which he starred in last year.
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