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2011 Horn of Africa Drought

With life-threatening conditions reaching catastrophic levels in parts of Eastern Africa, the United Nations took the extraordinary step of declaring famine in parts of Somalia, a classification defined by mortality rates greater than two people per 10,000 per day across a specific region, along with skyrocketing rates of deadly malnutrition (above 30% for children under five), among other indicators.

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.

The Many Meanings of Famine

According to the United Nations, Somalia is no longer experiencing a famine. While we can and should cheer this news, to understand what it actually means we must examine how the UN defines famine—and how Somalia’s new status relates to our greater concern for the health of its people.

So, how does the UN decide whether to declare a famine in a country or region? There are three essential conditions:

Horn of Africa: Food Crisis Intensifies for Ethiopians and Among Somali Refugees

As thousands of Somali families continue to pour into the Dollo Ado camps of Ethiopia seeking refuge from drought and devastating food crises, Action Against Hunger is racing to scale up its programs in response to extremely high malnutrition rates among refugees and heightened food insecurity among Ethiopians in the South.

Somalis seek refuge in Ethiopian camps – in pictures

Families from Somalia walk for days, and even weeks, to reach the Dollo Ado refugee complex in Ethiopia, and arrive exhausted and dehydrated. Hundreds of children and pregnant women are malnourished and need special therapeutic foods to help them to recover.

Series of 13 Photographs. Photo credit: Samuel Hauenstein Swan/Action Against Hunger

Leveraging Short-Term Relief for Long-Term Gains in Garbatulla, Kenya

Emergency assistance costs seven times more than preventative measures like investments in infrastructure and agriculture; in fact, it's estimated that for every dollar invested in a community's productive assets, a $9 return is earned, according to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

"It's not too late" for the Horn of Africa, urges Dan Rather

Life threatening conditions have reached catastrophic levels in the Horn of Africa, with the United Nations declaring famine in parts of Somalia, but people can still save lives and help restore self-sufficiency, says veteran newsman Dan Rather in a new public service announcement (PSA) produced for Action Against Hunger.

Leveraging Short-Term Relief for Long-Term Gains in Garbatulla, Kenya

Nan Dale is the CEO of Action Against Hunger. Based in New York, she frequently travels to the field to experience and evaluate various programs. Recently, she spent a week in Kenya. This post originally appears on the Huffington Post.

Horn of Africa: Tyco Emergency Funding Supports Safe Water Project in Kenya

Action Against Hunger’s partnership with Tyco International, the Clean Water Access Initiative, has made an emergency grant of $50,000 in support of a clean water project in a drought-stricken region of Kenya.

Window of Opportunity to Save Lives in Somalia Closing

Open Letter: Putting People Before Politics in Somalia

Bolstering Relief Efforts, ACF Reinforcements Reach Djibouti, Somalian Refugees in Ethiopia

In an effort to enhance its emergency response across the Horn of Africa, which is facing its worst humanitarian crisis in decades, Action Against Hunger continues to ship water and sanitation equipment and critical food supplies to the region to reinforce its ongoing efforts.

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About Action Against Hunger | ACF International

Action Against Hunger is internationally recognized as a leader in the fight against global malnutrition. Action Against Hunger works to save the lives of malnourished children while providing communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger. With over 30 years of expertise in emergency situations of conflict, natural disaster, and chronic food insecurity, Action Against Hunger runs life-saving programs in some 40 countries benefiting 5 million people each year.

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