NRC Horn of Africa Drought Response JANUARY 2022 - JUNE 2023

Publication language
Date published
01 Jan 2022
After action & learning reviews
Drought, Internal Displacement
Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia

The Horn of Africa is experiencing its most severe drought in living memory. Four consecutive seasons of below average rains have created dire water shortages, decimating crops, diminishing pastures and leaving millions of livestock emaciated or dead.

Tens of millions of people across Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia now have too little water to meet their basic needs. Many water points have dried up or diminished in quality, increasing the risk of waterborne disease and infection as households, schools and health facilities are forced to ration limited supplies. Women and girls are required to walk longer distances to locate and carry water, exacerbating the risk of violence and further hindering opportunities for girls to go to school. Faced with fewer resources, reduced capital, loss of income and dramatic price hikes, families and communities across the region are left in untenable circumstances, where all available options to meet basic needs pose a corresponding threat to safety, dignity or both.

The current drought represents a tipping point in the Horn of Africa, compounding the impact of sustained conflict, political instability, Covid-19, locust infestation, sporadic flooding, a global energy crisis and the reverberating impacts on food production, supply and cost of the international armed conflict in Ukraine. People across the region are now unable to produce or purchase enough food and water to survive; twenty million across Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are facing acute food insecurity, and 213,000 are now at catastrophic levels of hunger. Just over a decade since famine killed more than a quarter of a million people in Somalia, a new famine declaration is imminent. Multiple, interlocking humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa and across the region foreshadow large-scale, entirely preventable starvation.