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2011 Horn of Africa food crisis

Horn of Africa food crisis

A young disabled boy in Africa being tenderly spoken to by his father and two CBM aid workers
CBM's Emergency Response Team Senior Manager, Valérie Scherrer (right) and Fred Njuguna (CBM East Africa Project Officer, left) visiting a family in Tharaka North in Kenya. The child's father is explaining that his wife has gone to the city to beg for food while he takes care of their 11 children. They usually walk 6 hours to get 60 litres of water and are having one meal a day made from a little maize boiled in water.

In July 2011 the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa led the UN to declare famine in parts of Somalia. Refugees are moving into camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, and latest estimates (7th October 2011) say more than 13.3 million people - including 841,130 refugees - are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. CBM is working with partners to ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded from aid.

In more detail

Women queuing for food in Africa ©Reuters/Omar, courtesy Trust.org - AlertNet
Somali women displaced by severe drought conditions queue for food handouts at a centre operated by the government and local NGOs, south of Mogadishu July, 2011
Large parts of the East African region have suffered from continuous lack of rain over the past two years, with the latest four rainy seasons failing to provide adequate levels of water to ensure proper food production. This, coupled with civil unrest in Somalia and rising food prices, has led to an increasing number of Somali refugees leaving their country. In July 2011 the UN declared famine in parts of Somalia.

Still now, daily, hundreds of these people - mostly women and children, and many having walked for two or three weeks - arrive in overcrowded camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. Kenya currently hosts the biggest refugee camps in the world in the Dadaab region, with close to 400,000 people sheltered in camps built to accommodate 90,000 persons.

The UN estimates more than 13.3 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa. Of these people, it is safe to say that 15% will be living with a disability.

CBM response - committed long-term

CBM's Emergency Response Unit is in Kenya, supporting the Regional Office and our partners as they assess the situation and provide support to those most in need.

To ensure we maximise our resources, CBM is supporting a number of our existing partners who are already working closely with persons with disabilities. To widen our reach we are also teaming up with other mainstream relief organisations, such as the Kenya Red Cross.

In Kenya, CBM strategy - immediate and long-term - is to:
  • Ensure that people with disabilities have access to food and clean water, and that children with disabilities are able to continue in school
  • Mainstream disability in emergency response - including identification of persons with disabilities, access to basic relief services, referral and access to specific services
  • Re-build livelihoods through distribution of seeds, tools, and other income generation activities
  • Ensure sustainable long-term Regional and Country Office support of emergency response and development
With our partners, CBM will remain committed to saving lives and providing long-term support to vulnerable people living in the Horn of Africa.

How you can help

CBM's Emergency Response Unit is working to ensure we can support the people in most need, especially those with disabilities and those at risk of disability.

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