[Dehai-WN] (IRIN): HORN & EASTERN AFRICA: Drought highlights in 2011

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2011 18:20:06 +0100

HORN & EASTERN AFRICA: Drought highlights in 2011

NAIROB I, 30 December 2011 (IRIN) -
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportId=93426> Severe drought,
exacerbated by poverty and conflict, hit at least four countries in 2011 -
Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia - displacing hundreds of thousands of

Thousands in <http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=94279> Somalia
and Ethiopia began the year by making the
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=91535> dangerous journey to
Yemen. Others from these two countries
<http://www.irinnews.org/printreport.aspx?reportid=93403> headed for South
Africa where they faced arrest, deportation and detention.

Among other <http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=93633>
innovations, the humanitarian response in drought-affected countries across
the Horn saw an escalation in the use of
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=94396> cash transfers.

As the magnitude of the drought crisis gained international attention,
familiar laments <http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=93337>
emerged about the failure to heed
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=91666> warnings issued months
earlier and learn from previous famines by
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=93337> building resilience to
inevitable weather shocks.


The drought was especially hard in Somalia, with the UN declaring a famine
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=93280> in some regions of
south-central Somalia. Drought and insecurity forced
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=93564> hundreds of thousands
to flee to neighbouring Kenya, swelling the number of people in the
congested <http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=93332> Dadaab
refugee complex, which for many residents, has been
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportID=93906> "home" for most of
their lives.

Meanwhile, relief efforts inside Somalia were thrown into jeopardy by the
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=94321> banning of several
agencies by the Al-Shabab insurgency as well as by frequent
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=94222> looting at distribution
centres and also <http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=94018>
Kenya's military intervention, aimed at neutralizing the insurgents. US
anti-terror legislation has also placed
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=93887> hurdles in the way of
aid agencies.

After visiting Mogadishu on 9 December, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
said: "On the humanitarian front, UN agencies and NGOs have done outstanding
work. Their collective efforts have saved thousands of lives since famine
was declared in July. But the situation - particularly in central and
southern Somalia - remains dire. Four million people are in crisis; 250,000
people face famine."

At the end of 2011 it was
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=94204> rain, which cut off
those in need in Somalia. Increased insecurity in northern Kenya saw a
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=94528> police crackdown on
Somali refugees in northern Kenya.


The year started with calls for action to
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=91666> mitigate the effects of
recurrent drought amid warnings that livestock deaths in northern Kenya
could increase as the <http://irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=91555>
drought worsened. When the drought became serious later in the year,
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=93540> farmers as well as
ordinary Kenyans came together to raise funds for the hungry in an
unprecedented campaign, <http://www.kenyans4kenya.co.ke/> Kenyans4Kenya.

The drought had a largely overlooked knock-on effect on food prices in
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=93551> poor urban areas and
led to an <http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=93363> escalation
of conflict in some pastoralist areas.

October saw floods which displaced thousands and rendered parts of the
country inaccessible due to washed away bridges and impassable roads. At the
end of the year the floods were
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=94479> affecting more than
100,000 people and undermining food security recovery.


Food shortages, as a result of poor rains, were experienced in early 2011 in
the Oromiya and Somali regions, prompting the government and its
international partners to
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=91865> appeal for US$226.5
million in relief aid for almost three million people. In May, food and
non-food aid started arriving.

A <http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportId=93641> cash transfer
programme was launched in September to help reach some of the most
vulnerable people in Tigray, one of Ethiopia's most food insecure regions.
The pilot scheme transfers cash to those least able to earn money.


Lack of adequate preparedness to cope with drought was one of the issues
highlighted by President Ismail Omar Guelleh in an
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportId=91804> interview with IRIN on
27 January. "The problem in our region is that we don't plan properly for
what we know is coming. Four months ago, we had a lot of rain. Four months
later, we are dying of starvation and lack of water," he said.

In August, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) made a
e/en-US/Default.aspx> US$3.2 million allocation to UN agencies to help avert
an acute crisis caused by the drought.

Drought and poverty prompted thousands to make the
<http://newsite.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=94210> hazardous journey
to Yemen, with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, estimating that at least
60,000 migrants had arrived in Yemen between January and August 2011, double
the number that had arrived during the same period in 2010.


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