Somalia + 2 more

US Response to Humanitarian Crisis in the Horn of Africa: Fact Sheet


Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC

More than 12.4 million people—primarily in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia—are in need of emergency assistance in the Horn of Africa. The United States is deeply concerned by the humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa, the famine that is underway in parts of Somalia, and the escalating refugee crisis across the region. A large-scale international response is underway to prevent the further decline of an already dire situation, but there will be no quick fix. The U.S. is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to the region. This week’s White House announcement of approximately $105 million in additional life-saving humanitarian assistance for the region brings the U.S. government total this fiscal year to about $565 million to help those in need. This funding supports humanitarian assistance to refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other drought affected populations. Because emergency assistance will not solve the underlying long-term problems in the region, the U.S. government is also working on comprehensive responses, such as through the President’s Feed the Future initiative.

Humanitarian Assistance to Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, and other Drought Affected Populations: Reports from inside Somalia indicate the situation is growing increasingly desperate. The $565 million the U.S. government is providing includes assistance for refugees in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. Much of this assistance was previously planned for the region to meet continuing critical humanitarian needs. The total U.S. government assistance to the region also includes funding for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ recent Emergency Appeal for Somali refugees. Our diplomacy and our dollars leverage other donor support for international protection and assistance efforts. These efforts are critical to saving lives and maintaining access to safe asylum in Somalia’s neighboring countries, even as they themselves struggle with a drought that has been described as the worst in 60 years.

The U.S. government assistance is also being provided for health, nutrition, agriculture and food security, economic recovery and market systems, humanitarian coordination and information management, and water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya. The U.S. government is funding nutrition programs that treat malnutrition and support community-based education. The U.S. is working to address the immediate lifesaving needs of affected populations while also building communities’ resiliency to future shocks.

Food Security: Part of our funding will benefit those in need of food assistance in Ethiopia and Kenya. Our assistance will allow WFP to expand geographic coverage and scale up feeding programs in drought-affected areas in Ethiopia and Kenya. In total, the United States is providing approximately $400 million in humanitarian food aid to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia this fiscal year.

The U.S.-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) and Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), which the United States supports, have maintained a strong presence in the region for decades, enabling the humanitarian community to identify conditions based on an extensive analysis of historical and current rainfall, cropping patterns, livestock health, market prices and malnutrition rates. FEWS NET’s early warning of the crisis in the Horn of Africa has allowed the United States to alert other donors and to make sizeable, early food aid contributions and scale up emergency programs to meet the increasing needs in the region.

Feed the Future: President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative—which helps address the root causes of hunger and undernutrition—is critical at this time. Increasing the resiliency and further developing the capacity of pastoralists to engage in a commercially viable livestock trade is crucial to breaking the disaster cycle across the Horn. By working with other donors and governments in the region, Feed the Future will increase overall agricultural production as well as increase the resiliency of pastoralists who suffer most acutely from the effects of the drought.

For example, Ethiopia’s Feed the Future program emphasizes improving early warning systems, disaster risk management, and livelihoods in pastoralist and agriculture areas. Feed the Future will invest in Ethiopia’s Pastoralist Livelihoods Initiative. This program has increased the value and sales of livestock by improving livestock health services, institutionalizing early warning and response, and improving land and water management. At the regional level, East Africa’s Livestock Trade program focuses on the trade of live animals, increasing the quality and availability of trade information, improving animal health, and building capacity for private sector trade groups.