East Africa Drought 2011: Work Report 2

Situation Update

2011 has been the worst regional drought in 60 years on record in the Eastern Horn of Africa. The health, livelihoods and food security of more than 12.4 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti continue to be put at serious risk, desperately needing humanitarian assistance. The severe drought is a result of not only failed rains, but a combination of underlying chronic issues such as limited access to functioning water supplies, changes in pastoral livelihoods, increased populations, migration patterns, environmental degradation and local conflict. Combined, these factors have resulted in decreased community resilience and increased vulnerability.

In the worst affected Somalia, approximately 3.7 million people, i.e. more than one third of its total population, are currently afflicted by the devastating drought. In southern Somalia, the severity is at an exceptional scale and emergency measures and life-saving assistance are now urgently required for at least 2.8 million people. Since June, over 120,000 people have fled Somalia to seek assistance and refuge in the neighboring countries of Kenya and Ethiopia.

In other parts of the Horn, the drought exacerbates poverty and the food insecurity situation has deteriorated through loss of livestock and income. It is estimated that 3.2 million pastoralists and subsistence farmers in Kenya (about 7% of its total population) could be extremely food insecure by the end of August. In Ethiopia, around 4.5 million people (about 5% of its total population) will be in need of emergency food interventions from July to December 2011. In Djibouti, food insecurity is affecting 120,000 people (about 14% of its total population), of whom 80,000 are living in drought-affected areas in the northwest, central and southeast of the country.

International Red Cross Action

The situation in southern Somalia is the most urgent. The Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS) and the International Red Cross have:

  • supplied survival water rations to at least 347,000 drought-affected people, and shelter materials, cooking utensils and other essential items to more than 242,700 internally displaced persons (IDPs);
  • provided 250,650 people with the means to produce their own food again, or to generate a regular in-come, thus building towards greater economic self-sufficiency;
  • increased its support for SRCS-run primary health care clinics and therapeutic feeding programs for malnourished children.

Currently, the operation has been scaled-up to include:

  • Emergency food ration distribution to more than 1 million people for 3 months;
  • Operation of 12 wet feeding centers for IDPs;
  • Installation of water supply systems and extended water chlorination campaign to benefit 240,000 people;

The International Red Cross in Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti are working with respective National Red Cross and Red Crescent societies to meet the emergency needs:

  • In Kenya, over 209 metric tons of food has been distributed to 243 schools; medical outreaches have been conducted offering curative medical services to 5,510 patients, vaccination to 800 children, deworming to 1,795, and vitamin supplements to 1,318.
  • In Ethiopia, 165,000 people have been targeted for access to water and food.
  • In Djibouti, a needs assessment has been completed and the type of response required will be defined in the coming week.

In addition to food, health and nutrition assistance, the International Red Cross and the national societies are working with the communities through long-term and sustainable approaches such as livelihood adaptation, seeds distribution, cash transfer intervention, and water, sanitation and hygiene promotion to build resilience of the communities and mitigate vulnerability to future droughts.

Hong Kong Red Cross Action

To date, the Hong Kong Red Cross has mobilized HK$12 million in support of the International Red Cross to assist at least 55,000 person-times in its emergency operation in Somalia including:

  • Procurement of 10,000 kitchen sets, 10,000 sleeping mats, 10,000 tarpaulins and 21,000 blankets;
  • Procurement of 280,000 kg of cereals, 140,000 kg of beans, 56,000 litre of oil, and 94,804 kg of corn soya blend;
  • Delivery of medical services to the IDPs enabling the displaced population to receive preventive and curative health care;
  • Setting up therapeutic feeding centers addressing the needs malnourished children, lactating and pregnant women severely affected by the drought and food shortage

General Enquiries

Please dial 2802-0016, fax to 2802-0017 or email to