Status Update — July 20, 2011
The UN has declared famine in two southern states of Somalia. The UN definition of famine means that at least 20 per cent of households are facing extreme food shortages, acute malnutrition is present in over 30 per cent of people, and there are two deaths per 10,000 people every day. We continue to monitor our partners and beneficiaries in Ethiopia and Uganda who face chronic food security challenges driven by drought, delayed planting and harvesting, and rising food and fuel prices.
Longer-term support to help vulnerable children and families in East Africa is needed now more than ever. To donate, click HERE.
Status Update — July 15, 2011
Drought and Food Crisis in the Horn of Africa
1) Which countries are impacted by drought in the Horn of Africa?
The Horn of Africa consists of four countries: Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea.
The drought is occurring at the intersection of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. The hardest-hit country is Somalia, as a result of more severe drought, ongoing civil war and challenges in getting humanitarian relief to those who need it.
2) What is the current situation?
Two consecutive years of lower-than-average rainfall in Somalia, eastern Ethiopia and Kenya have caused crop failures and the die-offs of livestock. At the same time, food prices have escalated significantly, largely due to rising fuel and transport costs and the lingering effects of worldwide recession.
The resulting food crisis is being called the worst of the 21st century. As of mid-July, 2011, the World Food Program estimates that 10 million people need humanitarian aid. UNICEF estimates that more than two million children are malnourished and in need of lifesaving action.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, up to 2,000 refugees per day are crossing into Ethiopia and Kenya from Somalia. The African Union has called on the international community to come to the aid of Somalia.
3) What is the situation with CFTC partners and beneficiaries in Uganda and Ethiopia?
CFTC Country Representatives Gebriel Galatis (Ethiopia) and Christine Sempebwa (Uganda) have conducted situation assessments based on feedback from our partners in those countries. CFTC does not have partners in Somalia or Kenya, or elsewhere in the affected areas of the Horn of Africa.
As noted on the map, above, none of CFTC partner projects in Ethiopia or Uganda are operating in drought-affected areas.
At this time, our partners are maintaining their focus on food security, nutrition, livelihood, health, education and water/sanitation projects. These programs all offer longer-term strategies for poverty reduction and hunger alleviation in east Africa.
4) Is CFTC or its partners in Ethiopia or Uganda offering emergency relief or humanitarian aid to those affected by the famine?
Not at this time, however ongoing donor support for food security projects is more important than ever before. These projects have a direct and long-term impact on children and families in east Africa who are most at risk and in need.
It is important to note that CFTC is an international development agency, and not a humanitarian relief organization. Our goal is to deliver meaningful, sustainable change by funding local partner projects in four key development sectors: health, nutrition, education and livelihoods.
These support the broader, longer-term objective of increasing food security and reducing hunger by alleviating poverty.
If and when crisis affects our partners and/or beneficiaries in countries in which we have established a presence, we immediately evaluate options to raise funds to support their immediate needs and support the emergency relief effort, as we did in Haiti after the January, 2010 earthquake and during the cholera outbreak in late 2010.
As of right now, none of our partners in Ethiopia and Uganda has required or requested emergency aid support. We are monitoring the situation and will be prepared to act if and when called upon should the situation change. We are also in touch with other International Non-Government Agencies (INGOs) providing emergency relief and humanitarian aid in the field to coordinate our work and support with theirs, where possible.
5) What work does CFTC do in Ethiopia and Uganda?
CFTC has five community partners in Ethiopia and four in Uganda. Each has a different mission and purpose, however most offer health and nutrition support as a main or secondary focus of their work and others are focused on income generation and livelihood development. This work directly impacts long-term food security in the region.
In Ethiopia, there is also a focus on family planning, child care and HIV/AIDS prevention, and education, including building and equipping classrooms, and funding school uniforms, school supplies and tuition.
In Uganda, our programs support communities affected by HIV/AIDS, provide livestock to families to improve their standard of living by increasing nutrition and income, and distribute mosquito nets to help control the spread of malaria. There are also primary health, education and nutrition support programs running in Uganda.
In Uganda and Ethiopia, although not directly in the drought region, some CFTC beneficiaries in rural communities have been affected by a long dry season. This has delayed planting, and made it hard for crops to ripen and dry for harvest. This could have a serious impact on the income these families rely on from the sale of their crops.
6) How can you help?
CFTC’s partners and our beneficiaries – including thousands of children, pregnant and nursing women – face significant food security challenges including the soaring costs of food, fuel and transport.
Uganda and Ethiopia remain among the poorest nations in the world, and malnutrition among children is widespread. In both of these countries, food costs have tripled and in some cases quadrupled in the past year. Many families who are unable to grow crops are now struggling to afford enough food to feed their families.
You can reduce the impact of poverty and hunger on children and families by joining our monthly giving program today, sponsoring a child, or offering a Best.Gift.Ever. We thank you for your generosity!