The Horn of Africa crisis of 2011-2012 affected 13 million people. The main focus of the crisis was across southern Ethiopia, south-central Somalia and northern Kenya. Regional drought came on top of successive bad rains and rising inflation. It ramped up a chronic livelihoods crisis into a tipping point of potential disaster by putting extreme pressure on food prices, livestock survival, and water and food availability. Armed conflict across the region compounded chronic ecological and economic vulnerability, which escalated the crisis and limited people’s survival and recovery choices. (IASC Real-Time Evaluation of the Humanitarian Response to the Horn of Africa Drought Crisis in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya - Synthesis Report)
Appeals & Funding
- Djibouti Appel global 2013
- Ethiopia Humanitarian Requirements 2013
- Kenya Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan 2013
- Somalia Consolidated Appeal 2013-15
Into moving boxes went two of my grandmother’s delicate china teacups, family photographs, and our wedding gifts—all the little keepsakes that make a house my home. When my husband and I moved in Nairobi we debated over where we would hang the lovely blue portrait from our favorite Kenyan artist, Michael Musyoka. We walked the grounds and thought about what flowers we might plant. We organized the kitchen and decorated the walls. We unpacked the tea cups, the photographs, the gifts.
Ethiopia is a beautiful country, rich in culture and history but also a place where droughts frequently devastate harvests, leading to severe hunger. CRS helps communities in crisis get the water they need and also works on long-term approaches to keep the water flowing.
More than 9 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa where late and erratic rains have brought only partial relief to a region that was gripped by drought and famine a year ago.
“We’ve seen some improvement in the region because of humanitarian efforts but unless we continue with our response, any gains made since last year’s emergency could be wiped out because of continued drought and increasing food prices,” says David Orth-Moore, CRS’ regional director for East Africa. “Millions still need our assistance.”
By Neal Deles
CRS closed its office in Somalia in 1993 but continued to work there through our partners. It has been years since CRS sent an international staff back. I went to Mogadishu to meet our partners and see first-hand the work they do in the makeshift camps for those displaced by famine and conflict.
Tens of thousands of lives at risk with money for vital services set to run out in two to three months
Nearly one year after the Horn of Africa found itself in a food crisis because of a severe drought, and famine was declared in Somalia, David Orth-Moore, CRS’ regional director for East Africa, talked to us about the causes of the emergency and what CRS has been doing to help those affected in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
Listen to the podcast here.
What happened in the late summer of 2011 when much of Eastern Africa was affected by a severe drought?
The crumbling building that once housed the political science department of the University of Mogadishu now harbors countless people displaced by famine and violence. Window frames are missing glass panes, doorframes are empty and the walls are so pockmarked you can look through them from outside. Seeing this building makes me think that this was once the future of Somalia.
By Kim Pozniak
Joshua Sebwato is a farmer living in Nakasongola District in Central Uganda. He was one of the first people to benefit from CRS’ Great Lakes Cassava Initiative, a program that has helped more than 1.35 million farmers in six countries – Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda – mitigate two devastating cassava diseases.
Imagine you lived in Ethiopia, where millions of people like Keddo do not know where their next meal will come from. Before they could rely on their farms to provide much needed food to eat and to sell, but increasingly unreliable rains have changed this. Now many families must sell precious household items like their chickens or goats just to get through the hungry season. They are increasingly trapped in a cycle of poverty and hunger.
But imagine that something simple could be done to help people like Keddo.
Posted on May 7, 2012 by John Rivera
BALTIMORE, MD, May 7, 2012 — Catholic Relief Services (CRS) will mark the achievements of a 4.5-year, $23.8 million project to fight diseases that could have devastated the critical cassava crop in east and central Africa with an event on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 in Washington, DC.
Chris Herlinger writes for the Catholic News Service on the collaboration between the Ethiopian Catholic Church and Catholic Relief Services to combat drought and recurring food shortages.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (CNS) — Climate change-induced drought that has afflicted the Horn of Africa presents the opportunity for the Catholic Church in Ethiopia to work more closely with the government to address food shortages and development concerns, said an official of the country’s bishops’ conference.
Somalia is the hardest hit of the East African countries stricken by drought. The United Nations estimates that more than 3 million people are suffering from inadequate nutrition. And nearly 250,000 Somalis are at risk of starvation if immediate lifesaving interventions do not reach them.
A critical shortage of food in their communities has forced many Somalis to migrate to Ethiopia, Kenya, and to urban areas in Somalia. An estimated 1.5 million Somalis have been displaced in their own country, and an additional 320,000 have fled Somalia during the last year.
Catholic News Service reports once again from the frontlines of the East Africa food crisis, this time focusing on the drought’s impact on women.
NAIROBI, Kenya (CNS) — The year 2011 was not good for women such as Joan Ochieng. Just about everything was a struggle.
“We were not treated fairly,” the Nairobi resident and single mother said of life in 2011, noting the many pressures, including spiraling food prices that caused her and her family of four children and one grandchild to often go to bed hungry.
I have a daughter of my own who is now studying architecture at the University. When I compare her and the future she holds in her hands with that of the children I’ve seen in Somalia I feel deeply troubled. The only difference between my daughter and the sons and daughters of Somalia is that they suffer from the sin of circumstance. The one thing that separates them is that my daughter was born into comfort and they were born into poverty.
Contact: Kim Pozniak Catholic Relief Services (410) 951-7281 firstname.lastname@example.org
Baltimore, MD, September 19, 2011 — CRS is rapidly scaling up its response in the Horn of Africa, committing to a five-year strategy that will directly address the short, medium, and long-term needs of hundreds of thousands of people living in drought-affected areas of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Mixed with the braying of livestock and the welcome laughter of children, a new sound swirls above the village of Nakupurat in Kenya these days. It is the steady creaking of a windmill. For villager Ekiru Ewoi and the 2,000 residents here, it is a sound that reminds them daily that the hard days of thirst have passed.
"When the windmill was broken, we were going to the river," Ekiru says. "That took the whole day, from morning to evening, to get water."
By David Snyder
In his seventies, Mussie Sala moves with ease among the lush green fruit trees and broad-leafed cornstalks of his farm. It is a plot, really—just six-tenths of an acre—but a plot that is flourishing amid the rapidly browning landscape of Ethiopia. It's a godsend garden for a farmer who has seen enough lean years in his seven decades to know how special this oasis of green really is.
As the food crisis across the Horn of Africa is intensifying, Catholic Relief Services will help thousands of Somali refugees in northeast Kenya by providing critical services in the soon-to-be opened Kambioos extension to the Dadaab refugee camp.
CRS is making a five-year commitment to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to provide 25,000 people with water and sanitation infrastructure in Kambioos, while also aiding the surrounding communities affected by the influx of refugees.
Even though I’m CRS’ food security policy advisor, I have never been to a refugee camp or seen a food emergency. Today was my first time.
By David Snyder
In the comfortable style of an African mother, Sedo Ismael supports the youngest of her two children easily across her back as she goes about the endless tasks of a rural village woman. Nearby, bees buzz around a stand of yellow-painted hives, their labor, like hers, helping the Ismael family to weather another crippling season of food shortages here in their rural community in eastern Ethiopia.