Horn of Africa

The Deepening Crisis in the Horn of Africa
The worst drought in 60 years is currently putting over 10 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya at risk of severe shortages of food and water. The UNHCO has officially declared a famine in two parts of Somalia, and the crisis is feared to be spreading quickly.The drought crisis in the region has been growing increasingly worse for months. Many of the population are herders whose livestock are wasting away and dying in large numbers. Many people are on the move, walking hundreds of miles in a desperate search for food and water. It is not uncommon for families to lose loved ones to malnutrition and disease along the way. The Horn of Africa is one of the most vulnerable areas in the world, burdened by extreme poverty, hunger and the probable effects of climate change.

In this case, it is a gradual warming and drying that has intensified over the last quarter century. This change has led to, or increased, political instability in the region. Ongoing warfare further complicates the situation, making it much more difficult for effective outside intervention and humanitarian relief.According to the Comprehensive Framework for Action, a twin track approach is needed: one that meets the immediate needs of the affected and vulnerable populations, while creating long-term resilience to address all components of food security. If enacted, it is hoped that this approach will lead to sustainable alleviation of hunger and malnutrition and promote food security.

So far, the U.S. and the E.U. have fallen well short of promises made during the G8 summit in 2009, in which they vowed to help small farmers and pastoralists. Both the U.S. and the E.U. are in the midst of an ongoing financial crisis, which means that neither are considered likely to provide long-term aid to the region, which is something they normally would be expected to do.

Some countries in the Persian Gulf region have expressed a desire to increase their assistance to the Horn of Africa. These countries have seen a rise in export earnings recently, giving them the financial ability to step up their aid.

Urgent assistance is still required, including individual donations to charities, and leadership from African governments and the African Union. Effective and measurable humanitarian aid will not succeed without the help of these entities. Long-term, strategic investments are also required to increase resilience and strengthen the development of the region’s capacity for agricultural production and management of disaster risks.