Friday, December 30, 2011

The 2011 drought in East Africa

IRIN: Severe drought, exacerbated by poverty and conflict, hit at least four countries in 2011 - Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia - displacing hundreds of thousands of people. Thousands in Somalia and Ethiopia began the year by making the dangerous journey to Yemen. Others from these two countries headed for South Africa where they faced arrest, deportation and detention.

Among other innovations, the humanitarian response in drought-affected countries across the Horn saw an escalation in the use of cash transfers. As the magnitude of the drought crisis gained international attention, familiar laments emerged about the failure to heed warnings issued months earlier and learn from previous famines by building resilience to inevitable weather shocks.

...The drought was especially hard in Somalia, with the UN declaring a famine in some regions of south-central Somalia. Drought and insecurity forced hundreds of thousands to flee to neighbouring Kenya, swelling the number of people in the congested Dadaab refugee complex, which for many residents, has been “home” for most of their lives.

Meanwhile, relief efforts inside Somalia were thrown into jeopardy by the banning of several agencies by the Al-Shabab insurgency as well as by frequent looting at distribution centres and also Kenya’s military intervention, aimed at neutralizing the insurgents. US anti-terror legislation has also placed hurdles in the way of aid agencies...

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