The crisis extends across parts of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, with concerns the famine will spread. Some areas in the region are experiencing their worst drought in 60 years, with no chance of improvement until at least next year. Seasonal rains have failed for the past two or three years, hitting hard in communities already severely affected by poverty, climate change, conflict, and skyrocketing food and fuel prices. Many people have been forced to sell their few assets to buy food.
Our immediate efforts include safe water, sanitation, and emergency aid to newly arrived refugees in Dadaab camps in Kenya. Individuals, especially children, who are suffering from malnutrition and medical problems are referred to supplementary and therapeutic feeding programs and stabilization units. Families are provided with emergency rations while awaiting access to general food distributions. CARE is providing similar support in Ethiopia and Somalia.
The current food crisis is related to longer-term issues facing the Horn of Africa, where even under normal circumstances malnutrition rates for children are as high as 25 percent. Much of our work focuses on helping communities develop resilience in the face of future shocks, through disaster risk management, careful stewardship of natural resources, development of marketing and business management skills, and diversification of livelihoods.