Drought Crisis in the Horn of Africa

by Action Against Hunger
Drought Crisis in the Horn of Africa
Drought Crisis in the Horn of Africa
Drought Crisis in the Horn of Africa
Drought Crisis in the Horn of Africa

Project Report | Nov 16, 2023
Climate and Conflict Continue to Drive hunger

By Aron Flasher | Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships

Climate change and prolonged conflict continue to drive the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa. 

Somalia

Torrential rains in Somalia have caused the country’s worst flooding in decades, resulting in 29 deaths, impacting more than 1.1 million people, and displacing more than 334,000 from their homes. The heavy rains, which started in early October, have caused significant damage to crops, roads, homes, and other infrastructure.

Families in Somalia, who recently suffered through a prolonged and severe drought, already had limited access to food, income, and other resources to survive before the floods. Now, the floods have made health services, schools, and markets difficult to reach. Agricultural lands that had dried out in years without rain washed away easily in the deluge. People have nothing left for themselves and their loved ones.

Even with repeated warnings from government agencies and humanitarian organizations, the heavy rains and extensive flooding caused severe damage and loss of life in several districts, with major towns in the southwest – Baidoa, Bardere, Luuq, and Galkacyo – among the hardest hit.

 

Food prices soared in the first week of the rains. The main road from Mogadishu was washed out by the floods, and many vehicles are reportedly stuck in the road. As a result, many food supplies are not making it to the flooded towns. Action Against Hunger’s Food Security and Livelihoods team confirms that common foods like rice, oil, sugar, and flour have increased by 35%, and vegetable prices are also on the rise.

The soaring costs of goods is likely to exacerbate food insecurity across Somalia, a country that has been experiencing climate change-induced droughts that has already pushed millions of people into hunger. El Nino, the recurring weather phenomenon, is one of the reasons why this year’s rains are so heavy.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the upcoming days are expected to bring even more rain to communities across Somalia. The weather forecast through November 15 predicts that very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall in southern Somalia, along with wetter than usual conditions in other regions of the country.

Action Against Hunger’s health teams have mobilized to visit communities and provide much-needed assistance. In addition, we are providing emergency cash assistance to support the most vulnerable families, enabling them to buy food, medicine, and other essential supplies. Our teams will also construct emergency latrines in the coming weeks and months in displacement camps to improve sanitation and reduce the risk of disease outbreaks.

 

Ethiopia

Ethiopia has faced an onslaught of humanitarian emergencies in recent years. Its population has only just begun to recover from a two-year civil war which devastated entire cities and left millions displaced. Conflict primarily centered in Tigray, where families were cut off from food, shelter, and external assistance. Many were left with little else than hope to hold onto. Today, the country faces some of the highest hunger rates in the world, with about 18% of the population—or 20.1 million people—at crisis levels of food insecurity or worse.

Children bear the brunt of hunger in Ethiopia. In fact, 5.9 million children under five, or 40%, are stunted, or chronically malnourished. Around 1.2 million suffer from acute malnutrition, the deadliest form of hunger. Our teams are on the frontlines of this hunger crisis, providing essential clean water, sanitation, and nutrition support to children and families who need it most. Nevertheless, our work is far from over. As drought, economic shocks, rising food prices, and instability still grip the country, our teams are rapidly increasing our malnutrition screenings in some of the country’s hardest-to-reach communities.

Between January and June 2023, our teams in Ethiopia screened more than 665,000 children for acute malnutrition. At this rate, we’ll reach over a million by the end of the year. Once malnutrition is detected in children, they are then treated in our programs, with around 97% of admitted cases cured.

Action Against Hunger has been operating in Ethiopia since 1985, serving people in need, many of whom are refugees and internally displaced people. We work in the regions of Amhara, Benshangul Gumuz, Gambella, Oromia, Somali, Tigray, and the city administration of Addis Ababa.

Our teams help increase access to clean water and safe sanitation, save lives by treating malnutrition, help farmers and herders whose livelihoods have been disrupted by climate change, and prevent hunger by equipping mothers with access to capital and knowledge about health and nutrition.

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Action Against Hunger

Location: New York, NY - USA
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Project Leader:
Sam Sulzer
New York , NY United States
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