East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response

by Concern Worldwide US
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East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response
East Africa Hunger Crisis: Concern's Response

Project Report | Oct 13, 2022
An "Emergency Beyond An Emergency" in East Africa

By Kathleen Felesina | Director, West Region - Concern Worldwide

East Africa (”Horn of Africa”) Famine Crisis

Across East Africa (Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda and Eritrea, also known as the “Horn of Africa”) nearly 40 million people – nearly one-third of the region’s total population -- have been adversely affected by the current severe drought, which is in its 4th consecutive season, the worst in over 40 years. This severe drought has led to widespread livestock deaths, acute food insecurity and a very real risk of impending widespread famine. It is estimated that a person is dying of hunger every 48 seconds across Ethiopia, Kenya and particularly Somalia. 


Somalia in particular is experiencing some of the worst ravages of this climate-change caused disaster. Somalia has two rainy seasons: the Gu and the Deyr. The Gu rains last from April to June, while the Deyr are October to December. The Gu rainy season this year was catastrophically dry, and forecasts indicate a similar failure in the upcoming Deyr season this fall -- as well as warmer-than-average surface temperatures causing further impacts.


Compounding this severe drought situation is the ongoing protracted conflict in the region, lingering supply chain issues from the COVID-19 pandemic, the aftermath of the desert locust upsurge last year, global inflation, and the impact of the war in Ukraine on grain and oil imports. The price of staple items such as cooking oil, sugar and rice has increased over 100% since the beginning of 2022. Over 3 million livestock are estimated to have perished since mid-2021 due to starvation and disease, with 22 million more at risk in the coming months.


In a country where pastoralism and agro-pastoralism are the dominant livelihood strategies, the drought has had devastating impacts on rural households’ ability to grow crops and raise livestock. This has left hundreds of thousands of families with little choice but to leave their homes and travel to urban centers for jobs and access to basic services. The latest figures released from the UN indicate that over 1.1 million Somalis have been displaced from their homes since January 2021, primarily driven by the extreme impacts of drought. Internally displaced people (IDPs) are concentrated in Bay (Baidoa) and Banadir (Mogadishu) regions, and it is anticipated that the increase in influx of IDPs to these areas will continue at a rate of 30-40,000 per month through the end of 2022.


The impact of drought, displacement and increasing economic pressures are deepening the severity of needs and driving the country to the brink of famine and catastrophe. Over 7.1 million people are acutely food insecure, with confirmed pockets of catastrophic food insecurity across 17 districts affecting hundreds of thousands of people (see map). The Somalia Food Security and Nutrition analysis report, released this month, shows concrete indications that famine will occur in two areas in the Bay region (Baidoa and Burhakaba districts) in South-Central Somalia between October and December of this year.


As a result, food insecurity and acute malnutrition are drastically on the rise. Approximately 1.5 million children under 5 are acutely malnourished, with 385,000 at risk of dying before the end of the year without immediate intervention. Nearly 4 million people cannot access enough water for drinking, cooking and cleaning.


Hunger, access to clean, safe water, and adequate nutrition are inextricably linked; a lack of clean water for drinking and sanitation is resulting in increased incidence of waterborne diseases like cholera and acute watery diarrhea (AWD), which can cause/intensify malnutrition and further endanger the lives of vulnerable Somalis, especially children under 5 and those who are already experiencing severe food insecurity and high rates of acute malnutrition.


To ease suffering and stave off famine for tens of thousands, Concern is currently:

  • Treating tens of thousands of children and adults suffering from severe malnutrition and other illnesses
  • Supporting health clinics to deliver nutrition assistance
  • Providing emergency cash transfers to affected communities so they can buy nutritious food to feed their families and other essential items
  • Providing emergency water to areas most in need and improving access to adequate and safe water
  • Repairing broken boreholes and shallow wells
  • Vaccinating livestock against diseases in an attempt to keep them alive during the drought


Concern is well-placed to deliver these critical interventions. Indeed, we have long been a recognized leader and innovator in the humanitarian aid sphere. Fifty-four years ago, Concern was founded to address famine in Africa. Twenty-plus years ago, we helped pioneer a breakthrough in nutrition delivery that ushered in a steady decline in global starvation rates for the first time in history. Now, with this progress is in danger of being reversed due to the effects of climate change, conflict and Covid, we must step up our efforts, requiring more resources than ever – and thus we must look to past, current and potential partners to help us prepare and respond to once again save lives.


Concern puts a strong focus on coordination with other humanitarian actors, and we are a member of the Food Security, WASH, Health, and Nutrition Clusters, Somalia NGO Consortium, Cash Working Group (CWG), and other Clusters at national and sub-national levels. In ongoing drought response and famine prevention, Concern works closely with UN OCHA; Concern and its local partners are actively participating in districts across the country, including the proposed targeted area. Concern also leverages its strong working relationships and reputation to work closely with other aid agencies to ensure no duplication with other NGOs working in the target location on similar programming and provides regular information to ensure coordination. Concern maintains good working relationship with relevant state and federal line ministries, especially the Ministry of Health as a key partner in Banadir.




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Organization Information

Concern Worldwide US

Location: New York, NY - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @concern
Project Leader:
Arzow Azizi
New York , NY United States
$21,483 raised of $30,000 goal
229 donations
$8,517 to go
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