Crisis watch

Florentine, a young mother in Mozambique, who received assistance from CARE following drought and food shortages
26 April 2021

Somalia – drought

CARE is calling for urgent humanitarian support to save thousands of lives in the country: according to UNOCHA at least 3.4 million people are projected to be affected by drought by the end of 2021, of whom 380,000 are expected to be displaced. Iman Abdullahi, CARE Somalia/Somaliland Country Director, said:

The humanitarian situation in the country is dire as dry conditions have escalated to a drought. Villages have completely run out of water and are now relying on humanitarian agencies to support through water trucking which is not adequate to meet the need.

Our teams on the ground have witnessed communities drinking contaminated water putting them at risk of waterborne diseases. Some parents have told us that they have already started to go for a whole day without drinking any water as they are choosing to give the little water available to the children.

Mariam, a mother of two from Jariban district which is one of the areas worst affected by the drought, said:

This Ramadan, the only thing I am praying for is rain. Things have become so difficult. All the water basins in our village have dried up and without the water trucking support we are receiving, we would have to walk 50km to the nearest water point. I have lost some of my livestock due to lack of pasture and I don’t know how I will provide for my family if we do not receive rains soon.

CARE’s humanitarian response in Somalia/Somaliland includes:

  • Water trucking in Lower Juba, Somaliland and Puntland
  • Cash assistance in Galmudug, Puntland and Somaliland for affected families to meet their immediate food needs
  • Provision of primary health services to affected communities
  • Provision of infant and child feeding services including nutrition screening and treatment of severe acute malnutrition and moderate acute malnutrition
  • Protection response including support for GBV (gender-based violence) survivors with psychosocial support and clinical management of rape.
20 April 2021

Urgent action needed to prevent famine

Over 260 NGOs and civil society organisations have signed an open letter to governments calling on them to “give a single day’s military spending to fight hunger”. The signatories, from all over the world, including some of the countries worst affected by severe food insecurity, are warning:

Already 174 million people in 58 countries ... are at risk of dying from malnutrition or lack of food, and this figure is only likely to rise in coming months if nothing is done immediately.

The letter says that “conflict is the biggest driver of global hunger, also exacerbated by climate change and the coronavirus pandemic”. Amb. Ahmed Shehu, Regional Coordinator for the Civil Society Network of Lake Chad Basin, said:

The situation here is really dire. Seventy percent of people in this region are farmers but they can’t access their land because of violence, so they can’t produce food. These farmers have been providing food for thousands for years – now they have become beggars themselves. Food production is lost, so jobs are lost, so income is lost, so people cannot buy the food. Then, we as aid workers cannot safely even get to people to help them. Some of our members risked the journey to reach starving communities and were abducted – we don’t know where they are. This has a huge impact on those of us desperate to help.

Sofía Sprechmann Sineiro, CARE International Secretary General,  said:

Whether Yemen, Syria or the DRC, funding to respond to the hunger crisis is not materialising. Yet trillions are invested in rescue packages for corporates all over the world. Donors must step up. It is not a matter of affordability; it is a matter of political will. CARE’s evidence base tells us that for every dollar women earn, 80 cents go back into the family, compared with 30 cents of every dollar men earn. Gender inequality is a key predictor of the occurrence and recurrence of armed conflict. If we fail to grasp this simple fact, we will fail to prevent or effectively counter famine.

19 April 2021

Tigray, Ethiopia

Conflict, instability, displacement, food shortages, high food prices, and lack of access to markets are likely to lead to an increase in hunger and malnutrition in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Esther Watts, CARE Ethiopia Country Director, says:

This is an area that was already suffering from food security issues before the conflict, with amongst the worst malnutrition and stunting rates in the country. On top of this northern and central parts of Tigray were also hit by the locust swarms last year. All this means that people in the region have no harvests to live off and nothing to plant during the upcoming planting season, leaving them in a truly dire situation. These impacts are compounded by the psychological trauma and fear faced by household members on a daily basis.

People have told CARE that their immediate needs include food and nutrition support, non-food items (such as mattresses, blankets, kitchen utensils and jerrycans), health services, agricultural inputs, and, ultimately, peace.

The Tigray conflict has also exacerbated gender and other inequalities, and increased the risk of gender-based violence. One woman told CARE:

I tell everyone that I spend the night with family but in fact I am sleeping in my own broken house. I hide everything, including my clothes, during the day. I do not want people, especially the men, to know I will be there at night.

CARE is responding to the conflict in Tigray providing vital food, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene support as well as support to victims of gender-based violence as a result of the crisis. Since the beginning of our response in early December, CARE has reached more than 76,000 people across the central, southern, western and eastern parts of Tigray and bordering northern Amhara and Afar. CARE has also trained health facility workers on psychological first aid and is about to set up mobile health and nutrition services in Eastern Tigray.

Prior to the conflict, CARE has been implementing livelihoods and resilience building activities in Tigray for many years through our local implementing partner the Relief Society of Tigray (REST).

15 April 2021


Nearly 6 million people require immediate humanitarian assistance due to the combined impact of conflict, unpredictable climatic shocks, including drought and flooding, and shocks such as desert locust crop damage and the COVID-19 pandemic. From April to June 2021, food insecurity is expected to deteriorate among poor rural, urban, and displaced populations due to the impacts of anticipated, below-average seasonal rainfall, the high risk of continued Desert Locust infestation, the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, and protracted conflict.

In March, large parts of the country faced severe drought conditions. Over 116,000 Somalis were displaced by water shortages between Oct 2020 and March 2021. With worsening drought conditions and limited response, high levels of population displacement are expected in the coming weeks and months.

During March 2021, COVID-19 cases increased by 36%. During March, Somalia started vaccinating frontline workers and elderly people using the 300,000 doses of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines received from the COVAX facility.

CARE Somalia has reached 186,155 people through food, nutrition, health including sexual and reproductive health, and COVID-19, WASH, protection and education in emergencies interventions.

13 April 2021

Sudan: Refugees from Ethiopia

There are currently more than 62,000 refugees from Ethiopia in Sudan. People are in urgent need of WASH (water, sanitation, hygiene) services including and access to water and latrines, protection including sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response, health and nutrition services, shelter and non-food items.

CARE has noted that an increasing number of persons with disabilities have approached the protection desk, requesting services, such as hearing aids, crutches or cash assistance, currently unavailable at any sites.

CARE has conducted a Rapid Gender Analysis to assess the differing needs of people of different genders. So far we have reached 19,450 people with WASH services in the two main camps (Tunaydbah and Um Raquba) and the two reception centres (Village 8 and Hamdayet). We have started the construction of a surface water treatment plant that has the capacity to provide 1,000,000 litres of safe water per day in Tunaydbah.