UN World Food Programme

Hunger Looms Amid Drought In Horn Of Africa

A growing number of people in the Horn of Africa are in need of food assistance in the wake of a hard drought and ongoing conflict in Somalia. Photo: WFP/Caroline Bird

Around 9 million people in the Horn of Africa need humanitarian assistance as severe drought combines with high food prices and conflict to push the poorest and weakest close to the edge of survival. WFP aims to reach two thirds of these with food assistance.

ROME – Nearly 9 million people in the Horn of Africa need humanitarian assistance as a result of a severe drought, whose effects are being worsened by high food prices and conflict.

The people needing aid include 6 million that WFP aims to reach with food assistance, mainly in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Statement on the Horn of Africa drought

Desperate hunger is looming across the Horn of Africa and threatening the lives of millions, said Executive Director Josette Sheeran in a recent statement. Read more

“Desperate hunger is looming across the Horn of Africa and threatening the lives of millions who are struggling to survive in the face of rising food prices and conflict,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran in a statement Wednesday.

Conflict in Somalia continues to force civilians from their homes, and around 10,000 are arriving each week at crowded Kenyan refugee camps.  The number of malnourished children in the camps has already tripled in 2011.

Due to the failure of the April - June long rains in some areas and below average rainfall in others, the numbers in need of assistance are expected to rise in coming weeks.

But the humanitarian response in Somalia and Ethiopia in particular is hampered by funding shortfalls and new contributions are urgently needed.

“It is essential that we move quickly to break the destructive cycle of drought and hunger that forces farmers to sell their means of production as part of their survival strategy,” Sheeran said.

WFP’s response

SOMALIA - WFP aims to feed 1.2 million people in the capital, Mogadishu, and in central and northern Somalia. The number will increase from 1 July under a new emergency operation to assist 2.65 million people.

ETHIOPIA -. WFP is planning to provide emergency food assistance to up to 3.5 million people hit by the drought. Overall, WFP is currently feeding 4.3 million people in Ethiopia.

KENYA -  The number of people in need of food assistance is expected to rise from the current 2.4 million but the size of the increase depends on an assessment in July. The results should be released in August.