Elisabeth is Action Against Hunger's senior communications officer, reporting on our impact and current events around the world.
A Year Post-Crisis, Plenty of Progress Across the Horn of Africa
Severe drought isn’t something we’re accustomed to here in the United States. That’s why it comes as little surprise that when one hits, as it has this past month throughout America’s west, it makes and sustains major headlines. But while crop forecasts predict significant losses and higher food prices next year, this drought will in no way devastate our livelihoods, or our likelihood to be able to put dinner on the table. That was not the case this time last year when severe drought crippled our friends in the Horn of Africa. Widespread drought left more than 13 million people vulnerable in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Djibouti, with some communities experiencing famine. We turned to you, our friends and supporters, for help. And help you did. A full year after we called on you to take action, we’re happy to report some of our positive results to date.
Somalia: 774,000 people reached
We served some 774,000 people in Somalia last year. And this year, in the heart of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, we’re working to help some of the more than 200,000 displaced people who have fled their homes and are living in makeshift camps. So far with our most recent nutrition interventions, we’ve been able to assist 45,000 of them, including providing lifesaving treatment to more than 21,000 children under age 10 suffering from acute malnutrition.
Ethiopia: 463,000 individuals helped
In July 2011, thousands of families fled drought and conflict to seek refuge across the Ethiopian border. Leaving everything behind them, these families—especially the young children among them—arrived at refugee camps like Dollo Ado malnourished, dehydrated, and exhausted.
We helped 463,000 Ethiopians last year. So far in 2012, in addition to providing daily meals for families, we’ve also treated more than 22,000 child refugees under five for malnutrition in Dollo Ado. We also opened a day care center in one of the camps, to boost the treatment regimen for children who haven’t been responsive enough to traditional treatment for severe acute malnutrition. Communities surrounding Dollo Ado have also received our support, as we’ve helped the region cope with the burden on its natural resources after the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Kenya: 200,000 Dadaab refugees supported
Dadaab, in Kenya’s northeast, claims the largest refugee camp in the world—home to some 450,000 people, mostly from Somalia. Our teams have treated more than 80,000 malnourished children here, and helped more than 208,000 people access clean water and learn about good hygiene. In response to Kenya’s food crisis, we’ve also opened new bases in West Pokot and Merti, where we’re carrying out nutrition interventions and helping families generate an income, manage their crops and resources, and get sustained access to clean water.
Djibouti: Nutrition training for Ministry of Health personnel
In November 2011 we started partnering with Djibouti’s Ministry of Health to train health workers in nutrition, including the fundamentals of good nutrition, how to diagnose and treat malnourished children, and the logistics of how to manage a therapeutic nutrition program. Over a hundred workers have been trained so far in Ali Sabieh and Djibouti City.
For more information on our activities in the Horn of Africa this past year, check out our new publication below.
Tell Us What You Think
How do you feel reflecting back on a full year since the start of the Horn of Africa crisis? Describe your reaction to learning about the progress to date.