Oxfam 'Big Heads' stunt in London highlights G7's inaction over East Africa hunger crisis

Oxfam 'Big Heads' stunt in London highlights G7's inaction over East Africa hunger crisis
The leading UK charity has criticised the G7's failure to put an end to the ongoing famine in a number of East African countries as pledged two years ago, adding that one person is likely to die "every 28 seconds" if the crisis is not dealt with.
3 min read
18 May, 2023
The satirical stunt was aimed at shedding light on the G7's failure to tackle hunger in East Africa [Getty]

'Big Heads' depicting G7 leaders made an appearance in London’s Trafalgar Square on Wednesday in a bid to highlight their inaction in tackling the worsening hunger crisis in East Africa, where one person is likely to "die every 28 seconds", according to leading charity Oxfam.

Oxfam's satirical 'Big Heads' were present in the UK capital to bring attention to the famine which has plagued the region, despite a pledge from G7 leaders to end the famine two years ago.

The stunt took place ahead of the G7 Summit set to begin on Friday in Hiroshima, Japan, before ending on Sunday.

Oxfam said that the famine will likely kill one person every 28 seconds between now and July across Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya as the East African famine continues to devastate populations in dire need of aid.

The British charity expressed fears that the UK government will impose a real-terms cut in funding for the hunger crisis two years after it brokered a deal to prevent famine at the G7 summit in Cornwall.

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In a press release, Oxfam criticised the UK’s "woeful inaction", labelling it a "deafening silence" given the commitments made "just two short years ago".

Magnus Corfixen, Oxfam’s humanitarian lead, stated that the G7’s decision to "cover their eyes and ears" to the human cost of hunger is "reprehensible", especially since its member states largely contribute to climate change, aggravating the East African hunger crisis.

Corfixen added: "Every day that goes by without action means more avoidable deaths. More than 250 people are likely to die of hunger in East Africa in the time it takes G7 leaders to tuck into their dinner on Friday."

"The UK has gone from being a world leader in the fight against hunger to a laggard which is failing to live up to its own commitments," he continued.

Oxfam further stressed that the G7 summit is an opportunity for leaders to "take the life-saving action that is needed", while emphasising on the need for "an immediate increase in aid" for the impacted countries.

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At least 40 million people in the region face severe hunger - up by almost two-thirds from last year - due to the climate-induced drought which has been intensified by ongoing conflicts and a surge in food prices as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The current conflict in Sudan, which began in April, has resulted in the arrival of 6,000 refugees a day in South Sudan, further straining the poverty-stricken country where two-thirds of the population face extreme food insecurity.