Home > Crisis > Crisis in the Horn of Africa

FAO in emergencies app

Download now!

Recent Appeals

Documents

Projects

Other Resources

Connect with us

Crisis in the Horn of Africa

Crisis in the Horn of Africa

Crisis in the Horn of Africa

In 2011, the Horn of Africa (HoA) faced one of the driest years since 1950/51, causing a food crisis that escalated into famine in parts of the region, such as southern Somalia. By the end of July 2011, some 12.4 million people were in need of urgent assistance not only to save their lives, but also to recover their livelihoods; this number nearly doubled in the subsequent months given the rapid deterioration of the situation.

In order to both respond to the crisis and ensure that communities are better equipped to cope with droughts in the future, FAO has assisted local populations and governments with:

  • Rehabilitating water sources and establishing small-scale irrigation systems
  • Distributing seeds, tools and other agricultural inputs
  • Providing plant and animal disease control
  • Carrying out animal vaccination campaigns
  • Supporting coordination of food and nutrition security strategies, conducting real-time analysis of changing conditions and issuing timely reports of the current status of hazards, risks and vulnerabilities in the region
  • Implementing cash-for-work activities

About 80 percent of people in HoA rely on agriculture and pastoralism as their primary source of food and income. In the fight against hunger, it is essential that more focus be placed on restoring, protecting and strengthening the means of agriculture and pastoral dependent groups to continue their way of life and to increase their resilience to future climatic shocks.

Compared to the beginning of the 1990s, productivity in some parts of the region (for staple food crops per land area) has strongly increased. However, with rapid population growth, reduced arable land by subsistence farmers and migration to marginal lands, the deepening effects of climate change and continued marginalization of Horn of African economies in the global economy, there is increased pressure on the Horn’s relatively scarce resources. The situation has been exacerbated by high local cereal prices, excessive livestock mortality, conflict and restricted humanitarian access in some areas, which contribute to the challenges in the efforts to break the cycle of food insecurity.

Drought is a chronic hazard in the region, and has been for centuries. Pastoralism, and in particular agropastoralism, is a dynamic and sustainable livelihood system that has adapted to the particularly harsh conditions in many areas of the HoA. In fact, about 80 percent of the people in this region rely on agriculture and pastoralism as their primary source of food and income. In the fight against hunger, it is essential that more focus be placed on restoring, protecting and strengthening the means of agriculture and pastoral dependent groups to continue their way of life and to increase their resilience to future climatic shocks. 

The provision of agricultural assistance promotes stability and thus prevents food crises from worsening in these affected countries, while also limiting the negative impact of further reductions in food supplies. It also contributes to preventing displacement, unemployment, the sale of productive assets, the worsening of health indicators and dependence on food aid and other forms of relief assistance.

Related Topics

 - Thanks to a decent harvest and a strong response from the international humanitarian community, the United Nations declared an end to famine in southern Somalia in early 2012. More than ...READ MORE
 - An estimated 3.3 million people are food insecure in Sudan today. With 80 percent of Sudan’s rural population relying on agriculture for their food and income, the sector plays a ...READ MORE
 - The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has called on all actors in and outside Somalia to respond to clear indications of a ...read more
08/09/2014
 - FAO has called on all actors in and outside Somalia to respond to clear indications of a worsening food crisis by acting now to save lives ...read more
07/09/2014
 - The gradual recovery and gains made since the end of the famine in 2012 are being lost as poor rains, conflict, trade disruptions and reduced humanitarian ...read more
06/09/2014
 - Three United Nations emergency directors have called for more sustained funding for Somalia nearly three year after the worst famine hit the Horn of Africa nation. The ...read more
09/07/2014
 - Three United Nations emergency directors have called for more sustained funding for Somalia nearly three year after the worst famine hit the Horn of Africa nation. The ...read more
01/07/2014
 - In early February 2012, thanks to good rains and a strong multisectoral humanitarian and development effort, we were able to declare an end to famine conditions ...read more
29/05/2013
 - The Horn of Africa (HoA) is one of the most food-insecure regions in the world. The 2011 drought affected more than 13 million people at the ...read more
24/05/2013
 - Humanitarian needs remain in Kenya as a result of conflict, natural hazards (drought and flooding), instability in neighbouring countries and outbreaks of human and livestock diseases. ...read more
14/12/2012
 - Around 3.8 million people in Somalia are in need of humanitarian assistance due to the lasting effects of the 2011 famine, climate-induced shocks, conflict and political ...read more
14/12/2012
 - Castro Camarada, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and FAO Representative in Ethiopia to the African Union & ECA, talks about the challenges facing the Horn ...read more
02/08/2012
1 2 3 4 5