Horn of Africa: One year on, development partners search for new ways to solve challenge
A year after the food crisis in the Horn of Africa peaked and famine was declared in some parts of Somalia, the situation has improved but much more help is needed to reduce the vulnerability of people from drought and hunger. To date, nearly nine million people continue to live in desperate conditions and require aid in the region.
World Vision continues to respond to the immediate needs of the affected people while aggressively calling for investments that allow for long-lasting solutions.
Since July 2011 when the most recent crisis in the Horn came to the world’s attention, World Vision has been able to assist more than 1.5 million people through health, nutrition, water and sanitation and food aid programmes.
World Vision responded to affected communities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania by:
Providing food to 900,000 people
Improving water supply, sanitation and hygiene for 500,000 people
Providing general health and nutrition aid to 400,000 people; of this number, nearly 100,000 were children treated for malnutrition.
At an internally displaced persons center in Dollo, where many people fleeing the conflict and famine in south central Somalia camped, World Vision set up child-friendly spaces that provided a safe haven for children and in some instances served as areas for basic learning. Such children and their parents have been supported within their home country and they did not have to cross over to Ethiopia as refugees.
Life-saving support is also transitioning into sustainable food security. In Tanzania, World Vision distributed nutritious mixed flour to over 100,000 people at the peak of the food crisis. However, when the rains began, World Vision provided the farmers with drought-tolerant seeds - today food relief is no longer required in these communities.
“The need of families is ongoing, and World Vision will stand beside them until families are able to provide nutritious food for their children. While it is clear that relief saves lives, it is even clearer that as development partners, we need to innovate and invest in long-term ways of addressing the crisis,” says Dr Charles Owubah, World Vision’s regional leader in East Africa.
“The global community continues to demand long-lasting solutions to the cyclical droughts and emergencies experienced in the Horn,” Dr Owubah continues. “Organisations, including World Vision, governments, and other stakeholders have begun the process of serious collaboration under the banner of 'Secure the Future' to define approaches that would assure resilience of communities to the effects of recurring drought cycles. We need to see an end to the suffering of children in this region.”