CARE's Response in the Horn of Africa
As the drought and food crisis in the Horn of Africa continues, CARE has scaled up our emergency response in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia to assist more than two million people across the affected region. More than 12 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, such as water, food, medical assistance, shelter and help regaining lost livelihoods.
Somali refugees are still crossing into neighboring countries and up to 1,300 arrive daily in the refugee camps of Dadaab in eastern Kenya. After having walked for days, often without food or water, refugees arrive exhausted and malnourished at the reception centers of Dadaab. More than 415,000 refugees now live in Dadaab, in camps that were originally built to host 90,000 people. CARE provides primary education and water, distributes food and offers psychological support and counseling, particularly to women and girls. More than 1,600 refugee aid workers assist CARE in implementing programs, many of them having lived in the camps for most of their lives. Click here to find out more about CARE's work to prevent violence against women in Dadaab.
Livestock means life
Kenyans themselves are also severely affected by the current crisis. More than 3 million people in northern Kenya do not have enough food or water for their own consumption as well as for their livestock. Many of the communities are pastoralists and losing their livestock often means losing all assets. In Ethiopia it is a similar picture: in the largely pastoralist region of Borena more than one-third of all livestock have already died. It is an indicator of the severity of the drought that goats and camels, animals that are usually drought resistant, are dying as well.
CARE, in close collaboration with the Ethiopian government, has opened 21 destocking sites to recover some value from emaciated and unproductive animals that would otherwise die, and to prevent conflict that might arise from competition around scarce pasture grounds. CARE pays cattle owners 800 Ethiopian Birr (47 U.S. dollars) per head of cattle, and provides hay and supplementary animal feed to save the lives of remaining cattle. Under supervision from official food inspectors, the meat from the slaughtered animals then goes to vulnerable families suffering from the food crisis.
Of the more than 12 million people affected by the drought and food crisis, an estimated 360,000 women are pregnant. Malnutrition of pregnant women or lactating mothers can have long term consequences for the mental and physical development for children. CARE urges the international community to strengthen the assistance pregant women and mothers.
Prevention: the best response
Much-needed humanitarian relief is just one part of the solution. Over the long term CARE places a high priority on helping communities reduce their risk to inevitable future droughts and adapt to a changing climate. The success of this strategy can be seen in the much lower expected death toll in the current crisis than during previous droughts in the region – thanks in part to the work of local governments and international humanitarian organizations in bolstering the resilience of local communities against recurrent shocks. In Ethiopia, for example, the World Food Programme reports that only a third as many people are suffering from the current emergency as might have been the case without ongoing resilience and social protection programming. While the 1984-85 famine killed nearly 1 million people in Ethiopia, the current crisis threatens up to 200,000 lives in Somalia, by some estimates – a figure which could be even lower were it not for security issues and poor humanitarian access in the current climate.
CARE and other agencies have worked to develop effective early warning mechanisms for drought and crisis in the Horn of Africa. But awareness must be followed by donor support to ensure a timely response before a situation reaches crisis levels, costing countless lives. Simple preventive measures are far cheaper in financial terms as well. During the Niger food crisis in 2005, for example, it cost $80 to save a malnourished child's life – whereas nutritional support would have cost only about $1 a day if the world had responded earlier.
CARE’s response in the Horn of Africa:
Beneficiaries reached to date: 230,836
CARE Ethiopia is responding to the drought and food security emergency in the regions of Afar and Oromia (Borena, East and West Hararghe zones), which are among the most affected areas in the country. The ongoing humanitarian intervention focuses on food assistance, nutrition, water and sanitation work such as water point rehabilitation, distribution of water treatment chemicals and awareness-raising about good hygiene practices. Due to the drought, livestock – the main assets for pastoralists – are still dying in Borena. CARE is therefore implementing livelihood assistance which includes seed distribution, helping herders cull animals and recover some value before they die, and support to zonal animal health authorities. CARE is scaling up our emergency response to address the critical needs of more than 1 million people. Our ongoing response is assisting communities through both short-term emergency relief and long-term livelihood strategies. CARE is also working with the Ethiopian government to actively prepare for floods that are very likely to affect the northern part of the country later this year.
Beneficiaries reached to date: 111,864
CARE has been responding to the current drought conditions and high cereal prices in the northern regions of Puntland and Somaliland by rehabilitating water harvesting structures such as water pans and shallow wells; and by supporting livelihoods by implementing cash-for-work programs and cash relief to the most vulnerable households in the affected areas. As the conditions in the North are deteriorating, CARE plans to scale up our interventions to address water and sanitation, support livelihoods, and aid internally displaced populations.
Beneficiaries reached to date: 579,925
In addition to providing food, water, primary education and psychological support to the 406,385 residents in the Dadaab refugee camps, CARE has reached an additional 305,790 people in the north-eastern parts of the country. In this hard-hit region, CARE has been addressing drought conditions by reducing long-term vulnerabilities and strengthening community resilience. CARE is emphasizing disaster risk management measures owned by the local communities and supports district veterinary department teams to protect the lives of animals – people’s main assets. CARE is also responding through maintenance, protection and development of water resources; encouraging improved hygiene practices; livelihood protection and support through diversifying sources of income; and cash transfer though our Hunger Safety Net Program. CARE has partnered with a financial institution and both public and private meat dealers to increase livestock sales from the pastoral community, reducing the number of animals relying on limited pasture and enhancing available cash for households.