News story

Horn of Africa food crisis: three months on

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

British support is feeding more than 2.4 million people in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa according to new figures

British aid is feeding more than 2.4 million people in the drought-stricken Horn of Africa, three months on from the official declaration of famine in Somalia.

The latest figures, released by Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell today, show the UK’s support is saving hundreds of thousands of lives in the region as the crisis continues.

In addition to the immediate response, British aid is working with some of the poorest people in East Africa to better cope with the impacts of drought in the years ahead, helping to prevent more widespread hunger in the future.

Video: See how UK aid is tackling hunger in drought-hit Turkana, Kenya


According to the new figures, British aid is reaching vast numbers of people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, including:

  • 1.3 million people who are being vaccinated against measles and 680,000 against polio
  • 1.2 million people who are being provided with clean water and sanitation equipment such as latrines
  • Nearly 500,000 children and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers who are receiving supplementary nutritional packages
  • 400,000 doses of UK-funded anti-malarial medication are currently en route to Somalia
  • More than 200,000 people who are being given seeds to plant when conditions have improved.

Across the region 13 million people are caught up by the effects of the drought.

With the coming of the rains, the situation is set to deteriorate further as waterborne diseases spread through a population malnourished and starving.

Andrew Mitchell said:

British aid is saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Three months on from the official declaration of famine, we have already fed more than 2.4 million people in the Horn of Africa. We are providing vaccinations and medicines to those left desperately weak and vulnerable to disease. 

But the scale of the crisis remains huge. In Somalia alone, more than 400,000 children are at risk of death and the coming of the rains increases the risk of disease sweeping through overcrowded refugee camps.

Hundreds of people, mainly children, are dying every single day. Britain is leading the effort to save their lives. It is vital the international community steps up its commitments to help these desperate people.

Britain continues to work on longer term ways to help countries resist the effects of the drought. The success of Britain’s strategy can be seen in Ethiopia, where malnutrition rates among children have been cut by nearly 50% in recent years.

More from DFID

Gallery: See how we’re helping Kenyans to cope with crisis now and to tackle the droughts ahead Feature: A million people live in Turkana, Kenya - and most rely on the land. See how we’re helping  


Case study: Hear how Ilyas is on the road to good health thanks to a mobile feeding clinic in Ethiopia Video: Watch what we’re doing in Somalia to tackle disease and bring sanitation to crowded camps