CARE's Response in the Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa region is experiencing the most serious food crisis in the world today. Successive seasons of failed rains, combined with increasing food prices, underdevelopment, poor governance in some places, conflict and limited humanitarian access have resulted in food insecurity, water shortages and acute malnutrition rates above emergency thresholds in the region. Famine has been declared in six regions of southern and central Somalia, where over 750,000 people are at risk of starvation. Currently, over 13.3 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti are in need of urgent assistance. The emergency is expected to persist at least until 2012, with the likelihood that famine will spread into additional areas of southern Somalia.
An estimated 1.5 million people are displaced within Somalia while another 273,000 Somalis have fled to overcrowded refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen and Djibouti between January and September 2011, according to UNHCR. CARE is the primary provider of food, water and other essential services in the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya, which shelter more 455,000 people, the vast majority of them Somalis. The massive displacement has contributed to increased threats including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), transactional sex and increased conflict between communities over scarce resources. In the face of a continued influx of refugees into Kenya and Ethiopia, pressure is mounting for formation of more camps within Somalia, posing the risk of border closures, prevention of entry and forcible repatriation.
Immediate humanitarian needs
Millions of people across the region are in need of general food assistance and targeted nutritional assistance for vulnerable groups like children and pregnant and nursing mothers. Major health priorities include the management of severe acute malnutrition and the prevention of outbreaks of diseases such as measles and cholera. Malaria and dengue fever are also expected to become an increased concern with the start of the next rainy season in mid-October.
Across the region half of communities in the affected areas cannot access safe water. Some traditional herders have lost one third or more of their livestock, highlighting the urgent need for interventions to support livelihoods and help affected populations recover.
In the three most affected countries, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, CARE is mounting a large-scale crisis response, including general food distributions, emergency stabilization for malnutrition cases, water, essential household items, education and psychosocial support, reaching some 1.55 million people through late September.
Throughout our programs in the Horn of Africa, CARE has continuously emphasized the need to tackle underlying issues, to help communities break the cycle of hunger and adapt to the changing climate and recurring droughts. This includes disaster risk reduction measures led by local communities, natural resource management and improved community capacity in business management and marketing of livestock and other products.
To date CARE has reached over 534,000 individuals in communities in Borena, East and West Hararghe through distribution of food aid; provision of nutritional support through community-based therapeutic care and targeted supplementary feeding; water, sanitation and hygiene; and help to communities in maintaining their livelihoods, such as the distribution of subsidized crop seed and animal feed, reduction of herd sizes and animal health services. CARE is rapidly expanding our emergency response, including large-scale food distributions. Read our latest story from Ethiopia.
The Dadaab camps
At the cluster of camps in Dadaab, Kenya, the world’s largest refugee site, CARE is the primary provider of food, water and primary education for more than 455,000 people. We also support recovery for identified cases of SGBV through counselling and referral to emergency medical assistance and protection services.
Other affected regions
In addition to Dadaab, CARE has reached more than 453,000 people in northern Kenya, where we emphasize addressing long-term vulnerabilities and strengthening community resilience. CARE is also responding to the current crisis through maintenance, protection and development of water resources; encouraging improved hygiene practices and infrastructure; livelihood protection and support through diversifying sources of income; cash transfer and other cash/market interventions; and disaster risk reduction programming.
Building on our long-term work in the northern regions of Puntland and Somaliland, our emergency response includes rehabilitating water harvesting structures and supporting livelihoods by implementing cash-for-work programs and cash relief to the most vulnerable households, reaching both permanent residents and displaced populations. To date, CARE has assisted 116,000 people in Somalia. Our plans to expand relief operations in critically affected areas, including famine zones, are hampered by limited access, insecurity and stringent donor conditions. Additional funding for Somalia is required to expand emergency programmes and extend the existing resilience programmes.