Ongoing Crisis in the Horn of Africa
Looking to the Future
In 2011, a catastrophic drought struck the Horn of Africa, affecting Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. CARE continues its work there, helping communities become increasingly resilient for the future.
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
SEPTEMBER 2013 UPDATE
Conditions in the Horn of Africa have improved. The number of people suffering from hunger is now at its lowest since famine was declared in parts of southern Somalia in 2011. The fall in the food insecure population is the result of several successive seasons of average to above average rainfall, low food prices, increased livestock prices, increased livestock herd sizes, and sustained humanitarian response. Despite improvements in food security, acute malnutrition rates continue to remain very high, especially in the South. An estimated 870,000 people will be in a state of food crisis from August to December 2013. An estimated additional 2.3 million people, one-third of Somalia’s population, are classified as stressed, and their food security remains fragile. Reports released this month indicate, during the peak of the crisis, 258,000 people died in Somalia from hunger and related causes, and half of them were children younger than 5 years old.
JANUARY 2013 UPDATE
The past season saw a good harvest in the Horn of Africa. However, the situation still remains grim. The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Efforts reports that 1.67 million people in Somalia alone still suffer from food insecurity. And, while the drought subsided with the start of the rainy season, heavy rains led to severe flooding in some areas. The resulting crop damage has prolonged the food crisis for families living in flood-affected areas and displaced an estimated 50,000 people.
Overall, progress is being made in the region, and some refugees are slowly returning to their homes. With this opportunity to break the hunger cycle, efforts to provide long-term solutions to hunger and poverty are important. CARE continues to work in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya to meet immediate needs and help communities become increasingly resilient for the future. CARE is also continuing to provide aid to more than 400,000 refugees in Dadaab, Kenya, the largest refugee camp in the world.
SEPTEMBER 2012 UPDATE
The overall food security situation has deteriorated slightly in areas currently in the lean season in Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia and in Belg-dependant areas of Ethiopia. An estimated 9.1 million people including local and refugee populations remain in need of humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa (USAID/OCHA). Late and erratic rains in some areas, ongoing conflict, high food prices and lack of humanitarian access in some areas continue to underscore the need for sustained humanitarian response and disaster preparedness against future droughts in the region.
JULY 2012 UPDATE
One year on from the devastating drought and famine that affected more than 12 million people in the Horn of Africa region, CARE calls for action to stop the repeated cycle of food crises in the region.
Together, governments, non-governmental organizations, community leaders and individuals can address and prevent the continual cycles of crisis in the drylands areas of the Horn of Africa. As the Sahel region struggles to cope with a similar crisis on the other side of the continent, the lessons learned from 2011 and before cannot be ignored.
Today, food security levels parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia remain at crisis and emergency levels and are expected to persist until at least September. The 2011 drought and famine have left many communities without the necessary reserves to survive further shocks. For this reason, the mixed and generally below average March to May rains, steady rise in food prices and persistent insecurity facing the region means that many people will struggle to cope in 2012. In addition, Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world, is facing a critical funding shortage which will affect at least 200,000 people.
"The communities we work with in the Horn of Africa region are still very vulnerable," says CARE's East and Central Africa Regional Director Emma Naylor-Ngugi. "If the harvest is again poor this year, if conflict persists in preventing aid from reaching vulnerable communities in Somalia, and if long term investment is not prioritized, emergency responses may again be necessary. However, we should not have to reach crisis levels before taking action. By investing in longer-term interventions that protect people's assets and supporting them to cope and develop resilience to the continued challenges of food insecurity in the region, we should be able to turn this cycle around."
How CARE works in emergencies
RESPONDING TODAY, PREPARING FOR TOMORROW
In 2011 alone, CARE reached 12 million people affected by natural disasters, conflict situations and other crises.