Ongoing Crisis in the Horn of Africa

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.

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.

September 2017 Update

  • 18.1 million people are currently food insecure across Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, with a deteriorating situation in Somalia.
  • 895,000 Somalis have been displaced by drought since November 2016.
  • 1.1 million Somalis are in protracted displacement.
  • Approximately 77,000 Acute Watery Diarrhea/Cholera cases including 1,115 related deaths since January 2017
  • Ethiopia:8.5 million people require emergency assistance, mainly food, between now and December 2017.
  • Somali region of Ethiopia continues to be the worst affected, with 60% the population being on food assistance and water shortages continuing. The seasonal rain is not expected until October.
  • Kenya: The August 7th 2017 election was annulled by the Supreme court with the new date set for October 26th 2017. Anticipated anxiety and unrest in the period towards upcoming presidential elections  are still being felt with tense political period of campaigning between the government and the opposition.
  • According to the Long Rains assessment findings, 73,000 children in Kenya are severely malnourished and at risk of dying from drought-related hunger while 3-3.5 million people experience drought crisis and 0.8m are facing stressed conditions in arid and semi-arid lands.
  • Significant funding gap across the three countries. Funding shortfalls are being experienced in key clusters including Food Security and WASH.

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.