Map of drought-afflicted areas in the Horn of Africa as of 28 June 2011 (map credit: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, web-posted on the ReliefWeb website).
‘. . . [A]fter the worst drought in 60 years, more than 10m people in the Horn of Africa need emergency food aid. Livestock have been annihilated. Hundreds of thousands of people are streaming into refugee camps in search of help. Malnutrition rates in some areas are five times more severe than the threshold aid agencies use to define a crisis. Many children are already dying of starvation.
‘The areas most affected by the drought are northern Kenya, south-eastern Ethiopia, southern Somalia and Djibouti. The region’s last two rainy seasons were meagre. Rivers and boreholes are running dry, crops failing, traditional grazing land turning to dust. Up to 60% of cattle and goat herds, the main assets for many of the worst-affected people, have perished, their corpses and skeletons littering the plains. . . .
‘“In some areas we are close to famine, a situation we have not seen for 25 years,” says Gabriella Waaijman, east Africa head of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). . . .’
Read the whole article in the Economist: Hunger in the Horn of Africa: Once more unto the abyss; a terrible drought has brought the shadow of famine back to Africa, 7 Jul 2011.
AlertNet reports on 13 Jul 2011: ‘In the south, the hardest hit groups are rain-fed farmers and pastoralists unable to gain access to alternative pastureland, Andrea Heath, the ICRC economic-security coordinator for Somalia, said.
“Significant crop failures, very high livestock losses, increased food prices, recurrent fighting and the absence of humanitarian aid are the main reasons that an already desperate situation has become even worse,” she said in the statement.