BRUSSELS, Belgium – The Horn of Africa continues to face a multitude of crises – from natural disasters, including the El Niño phenomenon, to conflict – with consequences for millions of people.
The Horn of Africa continues to face a multitude of crises – from natural disasters, including the El Niño phenomenon, to conflict – with consequences for millions of people. Increasing food insecurity is causing forced internal displacement across the region. Millions need additional humanitarian assistance, especially in Somalia and Ethiopia.
Natural disasters and food insecurity
In Somalia, El Niño has triggered higher than usual rainfalls in the south with around 150 000 people facing floods at the end of 2015. At the same time, the weather phenomenon is linked to drought in the north, where over 340 000 people are in urgent need of assistance. In a fragile context, such as in Somalia, even small-scale natural hazards can have a devastating effect.
In Ethiopia, the number of food insecure people has increased from 2.9 million at the beginning of 2015 to over 10 million currently. Rates of acute undernutrition are well above emergency thresholds in many parts of the country. Meanwhile, the response to this situation is hindered by an important shortage of nutrition supplies. In the worst affected areas in the northern, central and eastern regions of the country, hundreds of thousands of livestock deaths have been reported.
Some 1.7 million refugees live in the Horn of Africa, predominantly in Ethiopia and Kenya. A majority of the refugees are from Somalia and South Sudan. They are often women and children – including unaccompanied minors – who are particularly vulnerable. Most refugees are in need of immediate life-saving assistance and rely almost entirely on humanitarian aid. Around two million people have also been internally displaced in the region, with Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia being the most affected.
The crisis in Yemen has also had an impact on the region. Over 30 000 people have entered Djibouti from Yemen, and nearly 30 000 more, a majority of whom are returning Somalis, who have left Yemen for Somalia. This is putting an additional strain on those countries, which have an extremely low capacity to absorb the large influx of refugees and/or returnees.
EU humanitarian aid to the region
The EU is one of the largest donors in the Horn of Africa, having provided over €1 billion in humanitarian aid since 2011.
For 2016, the EU will provide €77 million in humanitarian assistance in the region. The support will mostly cover the needs in the areas of food, nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter, protection and education in emergencies.
This comes in addition to the El Niño related support of €79 million announced in December last year for the Greater Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda).