Drought and food crisis in the Horn of Africa
8 July 2011 -- The Horn of Africa is facing what has been described as the worst drought in over half a century. Around ten million people in Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. In Somalia, where the drought is compounded by the escalating conflict, tens of thousands of people have fled to the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and Kenya, where many of them are living in overcrowded camps without adequate health care, clean water or proper sanitation. Malnutrition rates are soaring, and the low vaccination coverage of children is leading to concerns over possible communicable disease outbreaks.
In the affected countries, WHO is helping Ministries of Health and health partners deliver critical health care services, including treatment for severe malnutrition, through fixed and mobile clinics. WHO is scaling up disease surveillance systems in all the affected countries, and establishing a cross-border information sharing system to monitor population movements and help avert any inter-country spread of communicable diseases. With UNICEF, it is conducting immunization campaigns in Kenya and Somalia targeting all children under 14 years of age.
As lead agency of the Global Health Cluster, WHO is working with its health partners to coordinate the overarching emergency health response. At regional level, WHO's inter-country teams are working closely together to support cross-country coordination and harmonize response strategies. WHO is also working closely with the Nutrition, Food Security , and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Clusters to coordinate efforts and pool resources.
So far, WHO's emergency health response is severely underfunded. The Organization has received 22% of funds needed for Somalia, 5% of funds needed for Djibouti and less than 2% of funds needed for Kenya,. The health sector as a whole is also under-funded, with 25%, 9% and 5% of funds received for Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti respectively. WHO appeals to donors to give generously in order to help the health sector respond to this looming humanitarian crisis.
For more information
Media and Advocacy Officer
Health Action in Crises
Telephone: +41 793 676 214