East Africa crisis

A child in the remote village of Riak in South Sudan where CARE provided nutrition support and vaccinations to local villagers and internally displaced people

Millions of people across East Africa face a daily struggle to survive.

CARE is continuing to respond to the regional crisis caused by repeated drought, food shortages, and conflict and instability. In Somalia and Ethiopia alone, we have so far (as at July 2018) assisted 726,000 people and 1.5 million people respectively, with food and nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene, protection, health and livelihoods support.

Find out more about the situation as the crisis unfolded during 2017, and about CARE's response:

Watch Nyamuch and Elizabeth, two mothers in South Sudan, tell the heartbreaking stories of how they struggle to find enough food for their children:

This is no ordinary drought. It’s the worst ever experienced in the Sool region since 1974.

Sirad Umar Bayr, a woman in Somaliland, describes how the worst drought in her lifetime has driven people from their homes in search of water - and only the strongest can make the journey:

The crisis in brief

  • As a result of conflict, prolonged drought and economic decline, over 14 million people are severely food insecure across the eastern Africa region.
  • An estimated 6 million people across South Sudan are facing severe food insecurity, including over a million on the brink of famine.
  • Following two years of below average rainfalls in Somalia, more than 6 million people - including 3.4 million children - are in need of humanitarian assistance.
  • In Ethiopia, 8.5 million require emergency food assistance; 10.5 million people do not have regular access to safe drinking water.
  • Two consecutive seasons of drought across the majority of Kenya’s pastoral and marginal agricultural areas in 2017 have left 3.4 million people food insecure, among which 2.6 million people face severe food insecurity.
  • Women and girls are most vulnerable as often they eat last and least.
  • Healthcare facilities in the region are overstretched by multiple disease outbreaks including measles, cholera, avian influenza and malaria.
  • Conflict in South Sudan, parts of Sudan and Somalia is aggravating food insecurity and causing displacement. 

Watch this short video from Suzy Madigan, CARE International UK's Conflict and Humanitarian Policy Advisor, explaining direct from Somalia what the drought actually means for people there:

What we are doing

CARE is providing crucial humanitarian assistance across the region, including emergency food, nutrition, water, sanitation, health, hygiene, education and protection support.

Watch this short video from Suzy Madigan explaining how CARE is helping in Somalia:

  • In any crisis, women and girls are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition as well as gender-based violence. In Puntland (Somalia), CARE is providing medical and psychological support to an increasing number of rape survivors and working with communities to improve protection and reduce risks.
  • In Somalia, CARE has helped over 580,000 people with food, nutrition, livelihoods, water, protection, and health support.
  • In Ethiopia, CARE has supported over 1.5 million drought-affected people with clean water, food, seeds and cash.
  • In Kenya, CARE is helping families with water treatment chemicals and rehabilitating existing boreholes.

Rahma Ali, 31 years old, Sool region​ (Somalia):

We have lost all our livestock. We have no other source of income. We have no other skills. We can’t find or buy water. My children and I are at high risk of exhaustion and starvation.

For more information, read CARE's East Africa Fact Sheet

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