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 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.


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: March 23, 2017

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