Over 15 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are facing imminent drought and
famine with water scarcity, food shortage and increasing loss of livestock. Displaced
people are experiencing severe shocks as a result of the ongoing phenomenon, which is
likely to worsen in the new year. In addition, vulnerable local communities living in
Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are also likely to experience life-threatening conditions in
coming weeks and months.
The drought is now beginning to claim people’s livelihoods. Aid agencies, together
with UNHCR and governments in the Horn of Africa have raised the red flag concerning the
drought condition which has been a slow-onset disaster throughout 2016. Action must be
taken now. Peoples’ lives are at risk,rdquo; warned Abdirahman Jama, Acting Regional
Director for NRC in the Horn of Africa.
The Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit reports extreme drought conditions in Bari
Region of Puntland, and parts of Nugaal, Sool and Sanag. Large parts of Awdal and Togdheer
in Somaliland, and Mudug, Galgadud, Bay, Gedo, Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Lower Shabelle
are experiencing extreme drought conditions.
There is an acute water shortage in Bay and Bakool regions due to poor rainfall
during the Deyr season. This is the second consecutive year when local communities have
registered a poor harvest. Many households are migrating in search of food and water,
heading towards Baidoa and Mogadishu. Buurhakaba is one of the most severely affected
areas, where a drum of water costs US$5 up from $2 just 3 months ago. In parts of
Somaliland, some communities are travelling a staggering 125km to find water. Water
consumption has dropped to just 3 litres per person per day, which is way below the Sphere
Minimum water use for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene of 15 litres per person per
Over a million people in Kenya are affected by drought, with those in the northern Arid
and Semi-Arid Lands region, and in coastal areas facing greatest food insecurity. Poor
households in parts of Laisamis in Marsabit, Tana North in Tana River, and Fafi, Balambala
and Dadaab in Garissa County -where refugees and vulnerable host communities live – are
experiencing worrying levels of food insecurity.
The National Drought Management Authority has issued drought Early Warnings
covering 6 regions. Classified as ‘Alarming’, the Garissa County early warning report
indicates increasing food scarcity in Dadaab and Balambala sub-counties. Pastoral areas
have the highest number of households with poor access to food.
An estimated 9.7 million people, up from 5.6 million, require emergency food assistance in
2017 as a result of a new drought affecting southern and south-eastern regions. Water
shortage dues to the late onset, erratic and poor autumn rains are affecting Somali and
In response to the aggravated conditions, NRC and 15 other humanitarian agencies,
under the umbrella of the Inter-Agency Working Group on Disaster Preparedness for East and
Central Africa (IAWG), have agreed on the following recommendations for urgent action:
Governments and humanitarian actors should:
Work with market actors to ensure urgent access to water by providing vouchers or
cash to vulnerable people, and as a last resort undertake water trucking.
Scale up social protection mechanisms, and work with market actors to implement
cash-based interventions in response to urgent food, livestock and livelihoods
Where necessary, provide direct food assistance, emergency support for livestock
and agricultural inputs to farmers, so they can take advantage of any rain that falls.
IGAD and the UN should:
Urgently lead and coordinate resource mobilisation through the IGAD Drought
Disaster Resilience Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI) platform and other IGAD mechanisms,
to raise the visibility of this crisis and prompt a greater response.
Make special efforts to engage new donor countries in the Middle East and Asia in
relation to the drought, and ensure they make commitments in response.
Undertake mediation with rival parties in areas of conflict to ensure humanitarian
actors have access to affected communities, enabling them to deliver lifesaving
Deliver urgent funding to provide lifesaving aid for people in need of food and
water, and support the recovery of people who have lost their assets and livelihoods,
including through the immediate expansion of social protection mechanisms.
Source:Norwegian Refugee Council.