East Africa drought and food crisis


In July 2011, the worst drought in 60 years caused a major food crisis in East Africa – affecting 13 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti.


East Africa drought and food crisis

How is CARE responding to the disaster?

To date, CARE has reached 2.7 million people.

Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya
CARE is the primary distributor of food, water and primary education to more than 463,000 refugees living in camps that were originally built to host 90,000. We are providing:

CARE Kenya has assisted an additional 534,000 people in the north-eastern region.


CARE Ethiopia has assisted more than 1.2 million people in Borana, East and West Hararghe. In response to growing rates of malnutrition, CARE Ethiopia started an emergency life saving nutritional support project to reach 11,000 malnourished children and pregnant and breastfeeding women in Meskan and Sodo Woredas.

Since famine was declared in parts of Somalia in July 2011 CARE has assisted over 580,000 people in the northern regions of Puntland and Somaliland.


Building resilience for the future

CARE places a high priority on long-term solutions: helping communities reduce their risk to inevitable future droughts and adapt to a changing climate.

The success of this strategy can be seen in the much lower expected death toll in the current crisis than during previous droughts in the region. This is due in part to the work of local governments and international humanitarian organisations in bolstering the resilience of local communities against recurrent shocks.


Impact on women

Women are disproportionally affected by the current drought. They are often the last to eat when food is limited and also shoulder the largest burden in collecting drinking water. Because of the drought, collecting water is taking more hours each day, which has a negative impact on the whole family, since women then have very little time to care for their children, do household chores or earn an income.  

Sexual violence against women increased dramatically. In Dadaab refugee camp, for example, there were 358 incidents from January to June 2011, four times more than the same period in the previous year.


Blogs from the field:

Media releases:

Dadaab Camp: 19 years of service

CARE’s Emergency Media Officer reports from Dadaab Camp

Reducing the impact of the drought in Kenya

Reporting from Dadaab Camp: 500,000 likely to arrive by the end of the year

CARE’s Adam Poulter on water and sanitation in Dadaab, Kenya

Somali refugees in Dadaab: the worst I’ve seen

Ethiopia: All that counts now is to save human life

Dadaab Camp: We had nothing left in Somalia

Dadaab Camp: Heads, shoulders, knees and toes

East Africa Drought: A 17-day journey to Dadaab

East Africa Drought: Children are playing in Dadaab camp

Ethiopia: the need for food assistance is increasing at an alarming rate

East Africa Drought: Life in Dadaab

East Africa: Drought refugees flood to Dadaab Camp


5 October 2011 - Every dollar matched for East Africa

8 August 2011 - CARE Australia’s Emergency Manager heads to Dadaab Camp and Ethiopia 

30 July 2011 - East Africa: People desperately need our help

21 July 2011 - Increasing Australian assistance comes at critical time for East Africa 

14 July 2011 - CARE launches $25 million appeal as food crisis escalates

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