Famine and its human effects in the Horn of Africa

Africa has been experiencing its worst drought in 60 years. This environmental catastrophe led the United Nations to declare famine in Somalia, late July. The United Nations estimated that 750,000 deaths will occur if serious measures to counter the famine are not executed immediately. It was understood that over 12.4 million people are in dire need of humanitarian aid in the Horn of Africa. The humanitarian coordinator of Somalia, Mark Bowden said, “If we don’t act now, famine will spread to all eight regions of southern Somalia within two months, due to poor harvests and infectious disease outbreaks.”

Currently, tens of thousands of people have lost their lives and an estimated 10.3 million people still require humanitarian aid. There are three regions of Somalia that are considered to be famine zones, with an estimated 1.5 million internally displaced people and more than 650,000 people seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Two main camps near Somalia’s border include the Dollo Ado Refugee Camp in Ethiopia and the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya. This year, 54,000 refugees arrived at Dollo Ado and over 1,000 refugees each day arrive at Dadaab (refer to the map). Since the response to the crisis was slow and countries were unable to harness diplomatic cooperation, the assistance in many camps is far from sufficient. There is a huge fear of whether the funding for aid can be increased, much less sustained. The Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia (FSNAU) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSN) warned that “any significant interruption to humanitarian assistance or trade would result in a return to famine”.

Refugees International Japan raises funds in Japan and supports global projects to bring aid to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) through grants. Donations will be extremely helpful, volunteers are appreciated to help us raise awareness of refugee issues. The scale and severity of the crisis in Africa demands immediate action. Thank you very much for your support.

Read about one of the projects RIJ is funding in Kenya to provide life-saving care for severely malnourished children and babies here.

Article by Alisha
Edited by Kanako

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