Children and Families in the Horn of Africa are in Crisis

The region of eastern Africa—which includes Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Somaliland, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Eritrea and Uganda—is suffering from its worst drought in 40 years. Climate change has caused temperatures to rise, disturbing the rainfall cycle. Crops can’t grow on dry farmland and livestock are dying by the millions. 

To make matters worse, the war in Ukraine is driving up the prices of food, fuel and fertilizers. People simply can’t afford to feed their families.

Around 16 million people are facing acute hunger, malnutrition and thirst: including at least 10 million children. If the drought continues, an estimated 20 million people will need urgent help by September.

It’s not too late to avert a catastrophic famine—but we must act now. 

Children and families are suffering from hunger. Please help right away!

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Horn of Africa | Food insecurity and population displacement map:

Approximately 5.7 million children in the Horn of Africa are acutely malnourished—1.7 million of whom may require life-saving assistance for severe acute malnourishment. With harvests failing and livestock dying, children are struggling to find food, milk and safe drinking water.

Less than half of children in this region are currently attending school. In Ethiopia, more than 514,000 children lost several months of their academic year due to the drought. In Somalia, the drought disrupted education for 1.4 million children, with 420,000 children at risk of leaving school completely. Many children have dropped out of school and fled to nearby towns to find work to feed their families, sometimes away from home for months at a time. Without an education, their futures may be bleak.

Amidst the crisis, families are struggling to stay together—and survive together. Many families are forced to flee from their homes to urban centers to seek out food and water. In southern Ethiopia, 286,000 people have fled; and in Somalia, more than 1 million people could be imminently displaced (on top of the 2.9 million people who were already displaced).

With such severe water shortages, families are forced to choose water for drinking and cooking over hygiene. Without proper sanitation, they face increased risk of waterborne diseases and infections, including diarrhea.

Children and families do not have access to the critical medical attention they need. Pregnant women and nursing mothers require adequate nutrition to keep both mother and baby healthy; children need urgent care for malnourishment; and mental health services are desperately needed to combat trauma that stems from this crisis.

Risks of gender-based violence—including sexual violence, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence and female genital mutilation—are increasing during this crisis, while services to respond remain limited. Female-headed households and adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable to increased violence, exploitation and abuse, including the risks involved when women and girls are forced to walk farther to find water.

In some communities, child marriage has reportedly risen, with families marrying off young girls in order to lessen demands on their own resources and potentially get money that they can use for food and other necessities.

It’s not too late: You can still help avert a humanitarian crisis and rush relief to children in need.

Please act now!

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