July 5, 2011Poor rains in the Horn of Africa have contributed to severe water
shortages, failed harvests and food insecurity, affecting more than 10
million people in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti.
Horn of Africa faces 'worst drought in 60 years'
The drought is also driving up food prices in the regions, making life even more difficult for the poor communities affected.
The UN estimates that so far around 3.2 million people in Ethiopia have been affected by the drought and 600,000 people require assistance
in Uganda. The greatest number of people in need, 3.5 million, is in
A child collecting water from a hole in the ground in Konso, Ethiopia.
Lynn Johnson / National Geographic
Some communities in the Konso region in Ethiopia where WaterAid works
have been receiving emergency assistance as a result of the lack of
rainfall. If the rains expected in September also fail, then the drought
could have an even greater reach.
In Uganda, WaterAid's northeastern program areas have been affected
and WaterAid staff and partners are closely monitoring the situation.
WaterAid has only recently started operating in Kenya and as yet has no program work on the ground there.
The combination of drought and war is causing thousands of people to
leave Somalia each day for overflowing refugee camps in Kenya and
Ethiopia, putting severe pressure on already limited resources. However,
the water points built by WaterAid are still functioning and no water
stresses around these have been reported.
Sustainable infrastructure - such as water schemes - is essential in
improving rural food security. WaterAid has been putting systems in
place to prepare for the ongoing problems of water scarcity and food
security and ensure all interventions have a long-lasting and
WaterAid has also integrated disaster risk reduction into our
program strategies and work around water, sanitation and hygiene.
As our specialist focus is on long term sustainable water supply we are not equipped to deal directly with emergency relief
situations. Where we can usefully assist relief efforts, either through
supporting the work of the national authorities or international
disaster relief agencies in the area, we will do so. However, we will
not be launching an emergency appeal.