East Africa Drought & Food Insecurity


Response USA is providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance to those in need – provision of food aid, water and livestock.

East Africa is struggling to recover from the impact of the El Niño-induced drought in since 20012 and has been facing on and off spells of food insecurity during the past decade or so. An estimated 23 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance across the Horn of Africa due to a prolonged drought, COVID-19 pandemic, and desert locust outbreak.

Parts of East Africa including Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, are experiencing one of the worst droughts in 60 years. Consecutive below-average seasonal rainfalls have led to the loss of livestock due to deterioration of farmland and pastures, a spike in food prices and a reduction in the availability of water. Due to significant increase in staple food prices, poor households are forced to leave their homes and sell livestock to purchase their minimum food needs.

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Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are also facing a large outbreak of desert locusts that has exacerbated the ongoing food crisis in the region. The desert locust is one of the most destructive migratory pests in the world, rapidly consuming most vegetation in its path, including crops and pastureland critical to maintaining the food security and livelihoods. Swarms of these migratory pests are destroying standing crops and vegetation resulting in loss of food and income for local families.

In East Africa region, there are 111,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases and around 3,000 people have died as of August 2020, and Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan are the worst affected countries in the region. The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the local economy in East Africa which has adversely impacted the household income and food insecurity, particularly in urban and peri-urban areas and among displaced populations.

According to the United States Fund for UNICEF, 2 million children malnourished and at risk of starvation in Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. Conflict and displacement in the region have led to an increase of gender-based violence, especially among women and girls. Millions of children are at risk of dropping out of school; many have already been forced away from home with their families in search of subsistence.

What is Response USA doing to help?

Response USA is providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance to those in need – provision of food aid, water and livestock. In addition, we are supporting orphans and extremely poor children through our Child Sponsorship Program that takes care of their food, shelter, education, and health needs. Response USA is also working with women, youth, and small farmers for improved access to water and sanitation services, hygiene promotion, GBV prevention and alternative livelihood sources.

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