horn of africa drought

Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa hunger crisis

The situation

Right now, more than 15 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan are facing a serious food and water emergency. Conflict in these three countries, located in the Horn of Africa region, is making the impacts of the climate crisis worse, pushing hundreds of thousands of people to the brink of starvation.

The climate crisis is changing rainfall patterns in the region, leading some areas to suffer through catastrophic droughts whilst other parts of the Horn of Africa are flooded and others endure locust plagues. Some parts of South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia have experienced all three. People in these countries are also suffering the impacts of war, being displaced, unable to till their crops or feed their livestock.

In Ethiopia, more than 350,000 people in the northern Tigray region are experiencing catastrophic levels of hunger – the largest number recorded anywhere in the world since the disastrous famine in Somalia in 2011, when a quarter million Somalis died. More than five million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and this is predicted to increase in the coming months.

In Somalia, almost six million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and parts of the country are on the brink of famine, as more than 2.7 million people are experiencing crisis levels of hunger. Many people are relying on limited water sources which are unprotected and unsafe, exposing them to disease. The water shortage has led to reported increases in acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) and cholera as well as the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

In South Sudan, which is celebrating 10 years of independence this year, 7.3 million people are living with crisis levels of hunger or worse, with the number of people on the brink of starvation having increased by 300% in recent months to 31,000 people. Continued violence and flooding disrupted agriculture in the past year and forced 4.2 million people to flee their homes.

The costs of late action could be devastating. We must act now to prevent this crisis becoming a catastrophe.

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Oxfam’s work

Oxfam teams are already on the ground providing life-saving support.

  • We have assisted 1.8 million people with humanitarian assistance.
  • We’ve provided more than 1.2 million people with clean, safe water, including those in displacement camps. In Ethiopia, we’ve rehabilitated 56 boreholes and drilled 14 new ones.
  • We have provided 265,000 with emergency cash.
  • More than 2.8 million animals have been vaccinated.

Oxfam is now responding to flooding across the region. This includes water, sanitation, food and livelihoods assistance.

People affected by the drought depend on an urgent response now to prevent a full-scale crisis. Please donate today and help provide life-saving humanitarian aid.

Donate to the emergency food crisis

An extreme lack of food is causing severe hunger, malnutrition and even famine, across South Sudan and the Horn of Africa.

Donate now