Drought in the Horn of Africa

Horn of Africa: ADRA Delivers Food & Water in the Midst of Severe Drought

SILVER SPRING, Md. – More than 10 million people in East Africa are in dire need of humanitarian aid as a result of diminishing food sources stemming from the recent rise in food prices and severe drought that has overwhelmed the region. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is responding, providing life-saving water, food and emergency supplies to some of the most vulnerable.

ADRA’s Africa Regional Office is launching a multi-faceted intervention in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda to combat the high rates of malnutrition and protect the affected population from the threat of the spread of waterborne diseases. An estimated 85,000 individuals will benefit directly from this response.

The Western Somali region in Ethiopia has experienced very low rainfall, a devastating setback to the pastoral communities who rely entirely on their livestock for their livelihood. Along with an emergency water trucking response and distribution of essential non-food items, ADRA will be providing livestock feed and veterinary assistance to protect the assets of the farming communities. Through this intervention, ADRA is helping secure the livelihoods of thousands who are dependent upon their highly valuable livestock.

Kenya is experiencing its highest rate of acute malnutrition since 2003, a significant cause being the 25 percent increase in food prices from January through April. Staple food items such as maize and beans are no longer as easily accessible as they are unfamiliarly expensive. To protect against starvation, ADRA is providing food rations to 800 households, with a special ration reserved for pregnant and lactating mothers, and an additional ration for malnourished children. To ensure residents in affected areas have access to clean drinking water, ADRA is drilling four boreholes in various communities and making water readily available through water trucking.

In Somalia, ADRA is providing high-risk areas with clean drinking water through an emergency water trucking response. Additionally, ADRA is repairing boreholes and rehabilitating water points in strategic locations, maximizing the number of individuals who can benefit from its repair. In an effort to protect against the spread of diseases amongst internally displaced persons camps (IDPs), ADRA is constructing latrines.  A provision of non-food items such as plastic sheets for shelter, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets, water containers, utensils and chlorine tablets will be distributed amongst the beneficiaries.

In Uganda, hundreds of thousands of people are reported to be in danger of severe starvation and living with a dangerously low supply of water. ADRA’s response in Uganda aims to address the serious deficiency of nutritional intake by providing food, water and emergency non-food items to 55,000 beneficiaries in northeastern region of Karamoja.

Over the past 12 months, the rain season has failed in some areas of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Uganda, causing the vast region to experience the driest year seen since 1951. The late arrival of the seasonal long rains proved to be insufficient as they were less than one-third the normal amount, leaving pasture lands parched and endangering the lives of humans and livestock with inadequate sources of water for consumption. In combination with the worldwide rise in food prices, hunger levels and malnutrition rates have risen as high as five times beyond emergency levels.  Of the nearly 10 million people requiring humanitarian assistance, more than half are children.

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