USAID/OFDA provided life-saving nutrition assistance during the 2011 drought crisis.
USAID/OFDA provided life-saving nutrition assistance during the 2011 drought crisis.
Nancy Lindborg/USAID

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 cereal production and deteriorating livestock productivity in Somalia, southeastern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya are likely to result in increased numbers of people experiencing acute food insecurity through September, according to the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network. However, relief organizations are scaling up humanitarian interventions, and emergency food assistance had moderately improved food security conditions in some drought-affected areas of Somalia by mid-March.

On March 28, U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Stephen M. Schwartz declared a disaster due to the effects of drought. In response, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) will continue accelerated efforts to support drought-affected households and mitigate the risk of Famine. USAID/OFDA has also increased staffing dedicated to responding to the Somalia crisis in Nairobi, Kenya, and Washington, D.C., and continues to closely monitor the drought situation.

On March 16, the UN released a Flash Appeal for Kenya, requesting nearly $166 million to assist approximately 2.6 million people requiring humanitarian assistance through December due to worsening drought conditions. The appeal aims to complement the $208 million Government of Kenya drought response plan, which outlines key government interventions between November 2016 and July 2017.

The U.S. Government (USG) recently committed an additional $132 million—including $64.7 million from U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration for refugee and internally displaced person assistance, $43.2 million from USAID’s Office of Food for Peace for emergency food assistance to Somalia, and $24.1 million from USAID/OFDA for health, livelihoods, nutrition, and water, sanitation, and hygiene programs—to address urgent needs of drought-affected households in the Horn of Africa. The new funding brings total USG FY 2017 assistance for the Horn of Africa response to nearly $415 million.

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


Since 1991, Somalia has experienced a persistent complex emergency due to chronic food insecurity, widespread violence, and recurrent droughts and floods. The 2011 drought—widely regarded as the country’s worst in 60 years—severely deteriorated food security among pastoralists and populations in marginal farming areas, resulting in famine in areas of Bay, Bakool, and Lower and Middle Shabelle regions, as well as among internally displaced persons in Mogadishu and the nearby Afgooye corridor.

Despite improvements in recent months, malnutrition rates remain among the highest in the world, and ongoing insecurity in parts of southern and central Somalia—particularly in areas lacking established local authorities and where al-Shabaab is present—contributes to the complex emergency in Somalia.


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Last updated: April 06, 2017

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