Horn of Africa. Drought and hunger, 2011
Country: Horn of Africa, in particular Somalia and Ethiopia
Type of disaster: Drought
Disaster: Drought, conflict and insufficient help cause the biggest famine in 60 years
Estimated number of victims: 260,000 deaths. 13 million people affected
Drought in the east of Africa causes the worst food crisis in 60 years. More than 13 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya (almost as many people as there are in the Netherlands) are threatened by famine because of the lack of food. Other countries in the Horn of Africa are also affected. Crops fail owing to the lack of rain. It hasn’t rained in Somalia for two years. Cattle can no longer graze on the barren pastureland and die in large numbers. People lose their capital and their source of income as a result. Tens of thousands of people leave their homes and walk hundreds of kilometres in search of food. Many of them do not even reach the camps offering help.
Early in 2011 the World Food Organisation (FAO) warns about a serious food crisis in the east of Africa. The FAO and relief organisations working in the area depend on funding from rich countries. But owing to the economic crisis, those countries now provide little or no funding. And the money that is provided arrives too late. Half of the victims are already dead by the time famine is officially declared. The famine is also made worse by the attitude of the fundamentalist Al-Shabaab movement. It controls parts of Somalia and does not allow Western aid workers into those areas. Al-Shabaab initially denies there is a food scarcity at all. Somalia still faces the problem of malnourishment among children.