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Today in the Horn of Africa, more than 13.3 million people are in crisis. That's more than the population of New York City and Los Angeles combined.

These maps reflect the conditions in the Horn of Africa as of Fall 2011. For current data, please see FEWS NET.

Mapping the Story
Rainfall and Drought
The Horn of Africa's descent into drought began with lower than expected rainfall in the fall of 2010. As the situation worsened, millions became unable to water crops and feed livestock. Compare 2010 and 2011 vegetation maps and view graphs of rainfall from 2009 to today.

(Data sources: FEWS NET Rainfall estimates, FEWS NET Vegetation averages 2010 vs 2011)
Food Prices Rise
Populations in Crisis
Walking to Find Help
The Response
2011 | 2010

 

Today in East Africa, in a region known as the Horn, more than 13.3 million people are in crisis – more than the populations of New York City and Los Angeles combined. The worst drought the world has seen in 60 years is devastating farmlands, uprooting families and killing tens of thousands in four countries: Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia.

Drought, conflict and famine are forcing people from their homes in search of food and water. In fact, nearly 700,000 Somalis have fled ---many walking over 100 miles to refugee camps---in search of food and water. Nearly half of the children arriving at the camps in Kenya and Ethiopia are acutely malnourished; all are in need of emergency assistance.

But drought does not have to lead to famine. Conditions in Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti are expected to improve with continued assistance and a good rainy season between now and December. In stark contrast, the crisis in Somalia is especially dire. Decades of inter-tribal and inter-clan war, instability and conflict have led to an outbreak of famine.

The most recent data from Somalia indicates country-wide improvements in food security, largely driven by humanitarian assistance. Famine conditions have abated in three of the six areas previously declared as experiencing ongoing famine.

But the crisis is far from over. Four million Somalis remain in need of humanitarian assistance through August 2012, and 250,000 remain at risk of imminent starvation in the next few months if aid cannot reach them.

Famine: A famine occurs when more than three in 10 children are acutely malnourished, when more than two for every 10,000 people die in a day, and when one in five people are unable to access basic foods. The United Nations officially declared famine in Somalia on July 20, 2011. Famine is now prevalent in three areas of southern Somalia, which are controlled by violent militant groups that are blocking aid worker access and life-saving assistance. Though humanitarian assistance has improved the situation in Somalia, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network and the U.N. Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit note famine could reappear if there is any significant interruption to humanitarian assistance or trade.

War: Twenty ungoverned years have left the Somali people facing a daily reality of insecurity and conflict. This historic drought has pushed them beyond their capacity to cope, as degradation of agricultural and pastoral livelihoods, high food prices, violence, and control of resources by armed groups prevent millions from obtaining sufficient food and clean water. Even before the drought, over half a million Somalis had been living in refugee camps in the Horn, including in Kenya, where the world's largest refugee camp has been expanding over the past 20 years.

Drought: A severe and extended dry season across the Horn of Africa has withered crops, killed livestock and robbed farmers of any economic opportunity. Agriculture is the main source of income for most in the region, so when a harvest fails or a cow dies, families are left with too little to eat and no way to earn a living.

We can help: Read about the response