Ongoing Crisis in the Horn of Africa

Everything has Changed

People of north-eastern Ethiopia say they have never experienced conditions as extreme as the current drought caused by El Niño.

Massive Malnutrition in Ethiopia

Over 10 million people in Ethiopia are in need of emergency food assistance because of the extreme drought caused by the global weather phenomenon El Niño.

Responding to Crisis

Liz McLaughlin, Executive Director of CARE's Foundation Unit, traveled to the Horn of Africa in 2011 to see CARE's response to this massive emergency. She captured her journey on camera. 

Fighting Poverty & Drought with Honeybees

Nuriya, an Ethiopian mother of six children, has been able to make ends meet on her own since her husband passed away 11 years ago. By farming bees, a trade usually engaged by men, Nuriya is able to provide for her family.

Dadaab Refugee Camp

The Dadaab refugee camps were originally built to hold only 90,000 people, but a recent food crisis and famine have caused it to grow to nearly five times the intended size.

Blogs From the Horn of Africa

Visit our Notes From the Field blog for first-hand accounts of the food crisis in the Horn of Africa and read stories about the assistance CARE has been providing to communities and refugees across the region.

The Horn of Africa Food and Refugee Crisis

July 2017 Update

After months of improvement, the situation has begun to deteriorate again in the Horn of Africa. 14.5 million people are in crisis and food insecurity in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

500,000 additional people are experiencing severe food shortage in Somalia, bringing the emergency levels to 3.2 million and 6.7 million people overall. There is nowhere near the the level of resources needed to meet these needs and funds are desperately needed in rural and hard-to-reach areas. CARE has reached almost 500,000 people with our programs and nutrition assistance, and we will continue to scale up to reach our target of 1.6 million people in the next 18 months.

In Ethiopia, drought has raised the possibility of running out of emergency food aid. Funding gaps mean that aid organizations may not be able to meet the needs past July. Worms have threatened crop production, for which CARE has set up teams to respond. We have reached 1.5 million people through our food, hygiene and livelihood recovery programs.

The number of people in Kenya affected by drought has risen by 800,000, bringing the total up to 3.5 million people. The dry season is yet to come, and will coincide with the elections. CARE’s country office has set up mechanisms to ensure a capacity to respond should and humanitarian crisis related to the elections happen.

The Horn of Africa Humanitarian Summit has created four initiatives in funding, advocacy, media and communications. Through messaging and fundraising efforts, CARE hopes to drastically increase its response to the growing humanitarian needs in the region. CARE is also continuing to provide aid to more than 400,000 refugees in Dadaab, Kenya, the largest refugee camp in the world.

August 2017 Update

  • In Somalia drought conditions are worsening following poor and below normal rainfall. Preliminary results from the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit assessment indicate that overall cereal production across Somalia is expected to be 40-50% below normal.
  • In Ethiopia at least 7.8 million people could face critical food shortages from the end of July 2017 onwards due to a projected food pipeline break. This comes at a time when the country moves into the lean season (July to September) and when the southern and south-eastern regions of the country, already affected by drought, are reporting increasing malnutrition rates.
  • Drought emergency has been declared in 23 of 47 counties in Kenya, with 3.4 million people estimated to be food insecure and in need of assistance.

How CARE works in emergencies


In 2011 alone, CARE reached 12 million people affected by natural disasters, conflict situations and other crises.


In emergencies, CARE is among the first to arrive and the last to leave. When it comes to responding to an emergency, timing is crucial.