The European Commission has announced additional humanitarian assistance of €60 million to help people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, who have been facing critical levels of food insecurity due to severe drought.
This additional assistance brings EU humanitarian aid to the Horn of Africa region (including Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti) to nearly €260 million since the beginning of the year.
“The situation in the Horn of Africa has drastically deteriorated in 2017 and it keeps getting worse. Millions of people are struggling to meet their and their families’ food needs. The risk of famine is real. The European Union has been following the situation closely since the very beginning and progressively increasing aid to the affected populations. This new package will help our humanitarian partners scale up the response further and keep bringing lifesaving assistance to people in need,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.
The Horn of Africa region has been affected by prolonged drought, particularly severely in south-eastern Ethiopia, northern Kenya and in Somalia where a pre-famine alert has been issued. Some 17 million people are in urgent need of food to survive, while the countries’ coping capacities are exhausted. In addition, all three countries are hit by a cholera outbreak, which has a severe impact on the most vulnerable.
The newly announced EU assistance will support humanitarian partners already responding to the needs of the affected populations to step up emergency food assistance and treatment of malnutrition. Projects addressing water supply, livestock protection and response to outbreaks will also be supported. The bulk of the funding (€40 million) will go to help the most vulnerable in Somalia, while €15 million will go to Ethiopia and €5 million to Kenya.
Millions of people in the Horn of Africa are affected by food insecurity and water shortages. Vegetation is sparse. Livestock deaths, high food prices and reduced incomes are being reported. As a result of the poor performance of the ongoing rainy season, the next harvests will be much reduced and the situation is expected to worsen in the coming months.
The drought comes on the heels of the erratic weather caused by the El Niño phenomenon in 2015-16. In Ethiopia, it prompted the biggest drought response operation in the country’s history.
The region also hosts 2.3 million refugees, notably from Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia account for the majority of refugees, and is struggling to meet their increasing needs.
The EU has allocated over €1 billion in humanitarian aid to its partners in the Horn of Africa since 2011. EU funding has helped provide food assistance, health and nutrition care, clean water, sanitation and shelter to those whose lives are threatened by drought and conflict.
However, aid for the drought-affected populations is complicated by the remoteness of certain areas, as well as by the ongoing violence in Somalia. All parties to the conflict are therefore urged to provide unimpeded access to people in need.
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