Ethiopia Water
In Ethiopia, women and girls may have to walk hours or days to find clean drinking water for their households. USAID rehabilitates water points, supplying life-saving access to clean drinking water in a country where over 5 million people are in need.
Kelley Lynch

Latest Horn of Africa Fact Sheet

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Key Developments

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is responding to the complex emergency in the Horn of Africa region, including in EthiopiaKenya, and Somalia.

Below-average rainfall, significantly reduced agricultural harvests, and overall limited access to food are exacerbating food insecurity, negatively affecting access to water and pasture for livestock, and generating significant humanitarian needs in drought-affected areas of the Horn of Africa region. On February 22, the governments of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia released a declaration of regional cooperation, committing to coordinate government-led relief activities and calling for international assistance to bolster the humanitarian response.

On February 28, the Federal Government of Somalia convened a high-level meeting—including representatives from the African Union, civil society, international donor organizations, the private sector, Somalia’s federal member states, and the UN—to declare a national disaster due to drought. The meeting followed the mid-February release of the UN Operational Plan for Famine Prevention that requests $825 million to assist approximately 5.5 million drought-affected people between January and June 2017.

The Government of Kenya declared a national disaster due to drought on February 10 and is leading humanitarian response efforts. On February 17, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert F. Godec declared a disaster due to the effects of drought and increasing food insecurity and malnutrition.

The U.S. Government (USG) recently committed an additional $131 million—including nearly $88 million from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) for in-kind food assistance and more than $43 million from USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) for agriculture, food security, health, nutrition, and water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions—to address the urgent needs of drought-affected people in Ethiopia and Somalia. The new funding brings total USG FY 2017 assistance for the Horn of Africa response to more than $282 million.

Please visit our Horn of Africa web page for additional information.


Following consecutive seasons of unfavorable rainfall and harvests in 2010 and 2011, Ethiopia experienced localized precipitation shortages during the February-to-May 2012 belg rainy season in 2012, which hindered recovery for populations that experienced significant food insecurity and malnutrition in 2011. Drought is a major contributor to vulnerability in Ethiopia, as resulting crop and livestock losses have a profoundly negative impact on the lives and livelihoods of farmers and pastoralists.

Populations continue to confront several other challenges—including seasonal flooding, localized inter-communal conflict, above-average food prices, disease outbreaks, and limited access to health and WASH services—that contributed to sustained humanitarian needs and an ongoing complex emergency in Ethiopia.

Last updated: March 13, 2017

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