About the Horn of Africa crisis


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Where is the Horn of Africa?

In Northeast Africa, where the continent juts into the Arabian Sea like a horn. It includes the countries of Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. The Horn of Africa covers roughly 2 million square kilometers (or 770,000 square miles).

Horn of Africa map.

What is a famine?

As defined by the United Nations, an area is officially experiencing famine if:

  • Acute malnutrition rates for children under 5 exceed 30 percent.
  • Death rates exceed 2 per 10,000 people a day and 4 per 10,000 a day for children under 5.
  • 20 percent of households face extreme food shortage.
  • Access to food is below 2,100 calories per person per day.
What caused the Horn of Africa famine?

For two years, the seasonal rains that bolster local crops have been disrupted by unusual weather patterns. The impact of the widespread crop failure has been compounded by a loss of livestock and loss of income for farmers in the region.

How did the famine become so big?

Food shortages led to rising prices, more violence, disease and a massive exodus of refugees from Somalia. People desperate for food walked to camps up to 100 miles away. The United Nations warned that as many as 750,000 people could die in Somalia alone.

Why are people still in need?  

International aid efforts are under way, but getting food to people is complicated by violent militants blocking access to the hardest-hit areas. The aid that is making it to the people is not enough.