6 Months Later: CARE’s Response to the Horn of Africa Crisis
In the last six months CARE has reached over 1.8 million affected people throughout the region /Long-term recovery efforts aim at building resilience to food insecurity
On July 20th, 2011, the United Nations declared a state of famine in two areas of southern Somalia: the Bakool agropastoral livelihood zones and all areas of Lower Shabelle. Subsequently, four more Somali areas have been declared as a famine. At that point, the whole region of the Horn of Africa was suffering from the worst drought in more than 60 years, affecting Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya.
Today, six months on, 13.3 million people throughout the Horn of Africa continue to be in need of water, food, shelter, medical assistance and support to recover and regain lost livelihoods. Famine conditions in Somalia remain in Middle Shabelle region and among internally displaced communities; some 4 million people are affected. CARE is working in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya to provide lifesaving support to communities and to support the recovery and improve resistance to future droughts. As in every emergency response, CARE focuses on supporting the most vulnerable, especially women and girls.
Food insecurity in the whole region remains critical and the drought conditions are expected to persist. Increased civil strife and armed conflict inside Somalia and North Eastern Kenya have continued to hamper the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance to the affected people. The insecure situation in Somalia continues to spark a large exodus of people into neighboring countries. In Northern Kenya, Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee complex is now home to over 463,000 registered refugees, a third of whom have arrived in 2011 alone.
CARE helps refugees with immediate relief
CARE has been working in the Horn of Africa for several decades and was well placed to respond to the crisis. Throughout the region, CARE continues to provide immediate relief to the affected communities while placing an equally high priority on long-term projects to help reduce the risk to inevitable future droughts. CARE aims at supporting communities in building resilience to food insecurity. Between July and December 2011, CARE has reached more than 1.8 million people:
CARE is scaling up its activities in Northern Kenya to assist vulnerable pastoralist communities. Through Cash for Work programs, families are able to purchase food and other basic necessities. CARE also rehabilitates water points to ensure that communities and livestock have access to clean and safe water. Vaccination of animals helps pastoralists keep their herds alive despite the drought. In Northern Kenya alone, CARE has reached over 460,000 people. Read the blog of a CARE Kenya staff here.
CARE has been operating in the Dadaab complex since its formation in 1991, delivering food and water to the refugee population. In addition to the much needed emergency relief, CARE is working to continue its gender and community development programs, focusing on women and girls who at one point made up to nearly 80 percent of new arrivals. The need for psychosocial counseling and support to survivors of gender based violence is great, but due to current security and movement constraints, CARE heavily relies on the refugee communities themselves to continue the activities.
In Ethiopia, CARE has reached over 700,000 people in Oromia and Afar regions with nutrition, food, water, shelter, and support to their livelihoods. Through controlled destocking, animal feed and the distribution of seeds and planting materials, CARE has supported more than 100,000 people in agro-pastoralist communities. Over 19,000 children under the age of 5 have been treated for malnutrition while more than 425,000 people have benefitted from food distributions.
Building up on existing programs in northern Somalia, CARE has been able to scale up its emergency response projects to reach over 150,000 people in several regions of Puntland and Somaliland. CARE has distributed household and hygiene items to vulnerable families and provided cash-for-work activities and treatment against malnutrition for children under the age of 5. In view of the logistical and security challenges in Somalia, CARE has worked with local partners to increase access to affected populations including internally displaced people in Lower Juba. Building on more than 25 years of experience working in Somalia, CARE has developed tools to monitor, build capacity and ensure effective and responsible delivery of humanitarian support and use of donor funds by our local partners. Read an update on Somalia here.
Looking ahead: Return, reintegration and resilience
The rainy season has brought some relief in the region, but flooded roads have also hampered the relief efforts. In general, food insecurity remains critical, with drought conditions expected to persist especially in parts of Northern Ethiopia and Djibouti. Over the next five years, CARE aims to support over 2.85 million people throughout the region. CARE will also seek improve communities’ resilience to future droughts, with income generating projects and skills training as important tool to self-sufficiency.
At the same time, CARE is looking into the possible needs of populations choosing to return to their areas of origin. Ensuring that sufficient support is in place to enable their safe and sustainable return and reintegration will be essential. CARE and its partners also work on advocating for the necessary structural and policy changes needed to improve the lives of vulnerable communities throughout the Horn of Africa.