About the Crisis

The food crisis in the Horn of Africa 2011 is a famine which occurs in many regions of the Horn of Africa as a result of a severe drought affecting the region altogether East Africa, of which is said "the worst in 60 years," has caused a severe food crisis throughout Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, threatening the livelihoods of more than 12 million people. Other countries around the Horn of Africa including Djibouti, Sudan, Southern Sudan and parts of Uganda, are also being affected by the crisis. The international agencies are unaware of the situation in Eritrea.

On July 20, United Nations officially declared the famine in two regions of southern Somalia, the first time declared almost thirty years. During the Ethiopian famine of 1984 killed one million people. It is believed to have died about ten thousand people in southern Somalia before the situation is declared and around 29 000 under five, according to estimates by the United States. On August 3, the UN declared the famine in three southernmost regions of Somalia, sitando a worsening of conditions and inadequate humanitarian response. Famine is expected to disperse to all regions of the south in the next four to six weeks. A severe lack of funding for international aid, along with security issues in the region has hampered the humanitarian response. An estimated 1 million people could die of famine, of which 800 000 are children. From about 2.5 billion dollars has been requested by humanitarian organizations, they only billion were delivered.


Weather conditions over the Pacific, including an unusually strong phenomenon La Niña, interrupted the rainy season for two consecutive seasons. It has not rained for a year in Kenya and Ethiopia, and Somalia for the past two years. In many regions, the rate of precipitation during the main rainy season from March to June was less than 30% of average 1995-2010. The lack of rain resulted in livestock losses between 40% and 60% in some regions where milk production decreased and further reducing the poor harvests. No rain is expected before September. The crisis is aggravated by activity rebel group Al-Shabbaab in southern Somalia.

The head of the United States Agency for International Development, Rajiv Shah, said that climate change has contributed to the severity of the crisis. "There is no doubt that the hot, dry conditions are increasing in sub-Saharan Africa and this is reducing the resilience of communities.” In addition, two experts from the International Livestock Research Institute (an institute international independent based in Nairobi, Kenya) suggested that it is premature to blame the drought climate change. While there is agreement that the effect of particularly strong La Niña contributed to the intensity of the drought, the relationship between La Nina and climate change is not well established.

The failures of the international community to heed the early warning system have been criticized for leading to a worsening of the crisis. The director humanitarian Oxfam said Jane Cocking "This is a preventable disaster and solutions are possible." Suzanne Dvorak, chief executive of Save the Children, wrote that "Politicians and the authorities in rich countries are skeptical about take preventive measures because they think that aid agencies are exaggerating the problem. The leaders of developed countries are embarrassed to be seen as unable to feed its population. [...] these children are wearing in a disaster that we can - and must - prevent. “Shortly after the famine was declared in parts of southern Somalia, Oxfam blamed European governments of "willful negligence" on the crisis It issued a statement saying that " Warning signs have been for months, and the world has acted too slowly. A better long-term investment is needed for food production and development base to help people cope with poor rains and ensure that it is the last famine in the region. "

See Also:

Details about Food crisis in the Horn of Africa - Part 2

Details about Food crisis in the Horn of Africa - Part 3

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