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Help Children in the Horn of Africa

UNICEF's Work: Horn of Africa

Following one of the worst droughts in recent memory, an unprecedented humanitarian aid operation unfolded in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. Thanks to the generosity of donors, UNICEF and its partners helped save lives of countless children suffering from hunger, malnutrition and disease in the region and reverse the famine in Somalia.

Horn of Africa Famine Cause

The 2011 crisis in the Horn of Africa was caused by a combination of prolonged drought, rapidly increasing food prices and escalating conflict in Somalia. By September 2011, more than 13 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance. 

Horn of Africa - One Year Anniversary

Support UNICEF's efforts to help save children in the Horn of Africa.

A Global Response to Help UNICEF Protect Children in the Horn of Africa

The global response to the crisis in the Horn of Africa was immense. UNICEF’s strategic approach to emergency response and its strong, long term relationships with governments and NGOs has resulted in significant improvements in the Horn of Africa.  The lives saved and improved are the result of true partnership, beginning with donors who fund UNICEF’s work, planning and collaboration, and the incredible staff and partners on the ground who work relentlessly to protect children.

UNICEF and its partners have so far:

  • Delivered 63,000 metric tons of humanitarian aid including 31,500 tons of therapeutic food
  • Treated 1 million children for malnutrition
  • Immunized 1.5 million children (31% of the country’s children) against deadly diseases in Somalia 
  • Scaled up response in nutrition, water and sanitation in Kenya, resulting in a three-fold reduction in acute malnutrition from 37.4% to 13.7%
  • Strengthened the safety nets and preventive measures in Ethiopia, including establishing a Health Extension program that employs 34,000 community-based health workers

Progress at Risk

As encouraging as these results are, the humanitarian crisis is far from over. 8 million people across Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya are still in need of humanitarian assistance. Children, in particular, are threatened by a combination of poverty, insecurity, malnutrition, and disease.

After favorable rains at the end of 2011, the first raining season of 2012 again brought below average rainfalls, which may negatively affect the mid-year harvest and further delay recovery of soils and livelihoods impacted by 2011 drought.  Somalia remains the worst affected country in the Horn of Africa with the crisis further compounded by the on-going conflict in the country. There are now more than 626,000 Somali refugees in Kenya and Ethiopia. Inside Somalia, more than one million people are internally displaced, nearly 60% of them children. One in five children is still suffering from life-threatening acute malnutrition in southern regions of Somalia.

UNICEF needs a total of $273 million this year for its emergency relief and development programs in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. To date, only 33% of the funds have been received.

UNICEF's efforts will continue to focus on:

  • Prevention and treatment of severe acute malnutrition
  • Prevention and response to major child illnesses including vaccination
  • Expansion of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene
  • Providing livelihood opportunities that include improved food security and access to safe water
  • Providing access to assets and safety nets that are responsive to seasonal factors and external shocks


UNICEF in Horn of Africa

August 20, 2012

Aid Trickles Into Somalia's Drought-Hit Baidoa Region as Militant Group Moves Out

Fleeing from violence and suffering from food shortages, more and more people in southern Somalia have been coming to the Salameyidale Internally Displaced Persons Camp near the town of Baidoa. The town has become accessible since the militant group Al-Shababbd left in February. But with little medical care at the refugee camp, the Baidoa Regional Hospital, supported by UNICEF, is the only health facility in the area. With access to Baidoa opening up, UNICEF is able to increase medical care for children suffering from illness and malnutrition.

August 1, 2012

In Somalia, fuel-efficient stoves prevent sexual violence and generate income for vulnerable families

Girls and women in Mogadishu say that they are at greatest risk of sexual violence while they are collecting firewood. To reduce the need for firewood, UNICEF and partners are supporting two projects providing fuel-efficient stoves to displaced girls and women throughout Mogadishu. The stoves use waste products like corn husks as an energy source, reducing or eliminating the need to collect firewood. UNICEF designed these projects to protect children, but they have had the added benefit of providing families with an income as stove producers.

July 20, 2012

One year after famine declaration: Countless lives saved, but situation for children still grave in the Horn of Africa

A year ago today, the crisis in the Horn of Africa reached a boiling point when the United Nations declared famine in two regions of southern Somalia.

Read more stories of UNICEF in the Field
in Horn of Africa

Horn of Africa Map

Horn of Africa six month report

HOA six month report

Click to view a PDF of the 6 month report, or right click to save it to your desktop.