The Horn of Africa is facing the worst drought on record, impacting over 21 million children.
The region has been facing drought conditions since 2020, meaning it has suffered five back-to-back failed rainy seasons. The lack of rain has decimated crops and livestock and left millions without enough food or water.
As a result, 12 million children are in need of food assistance and 5.1 million children are acutely malnourished.
The rains have now come in Somalia and Ethiopia, but after almost 3 years of drought, the poor ground conditions and the lack of crops have resulted in flooding, displacing more people and deepening the food crisis further.
In Kenya, an unprecedented sixth failed rainy season is on the horizon.
In all three countries, the outlook over the coming months is bleak. It will take multiple successful rainy seasons for communities and pastures to fully recover.
Shankaroon* lives with her five children in Garissa County, northern Kenya. Like many families in this region, their main source of income came from livestock, but the prolonged drought has killed their animals and therefore, their livelihood.
Her children only eat meals of rice and grit maize twice a day and often go to bed hungry. The lack of nutritious food means Shankaroon’s son Hirsi* is suffering from malnutrition and a weakened immune system.
Shankaroon hopes her children will grow up, learn, finish their studies and enjoy life, but children can’t play, learn or grow when they’re hungry. The crisis is hurting their childhood and their future.
Save the Children has provided the family with a cash grant to cover the cost of food, other essential items and livelihood recovery.
We also support and train Community Health Volunteers so families like Shankaroon’s can access health and nutrition services before severe acute malnutrition takes over.
Communities in the Horn of Africa have become very resilient to crises, but the extreme and erratic weather over the last three years, economic shocks and ongoing conflict means these resilience tools have been depleted.
Save the Children is working with local partners and communities, supporting children across the Horn of Africa to access health and nutrition services, clean water, hygiene and sanitation facilities, education and child protection services.
Take a look at a day in the life of a health worker in Somalia.
We are also future-proofing communities by providing tools to help them break the hunger cycle and make them more resilient against future climate-induced emergencies.
For example, we’re providing families with drought-resistant seeds, rehabilitating water supplies, teaching flood-resilient farming practices and giving cash grants to families.