Oduu Haaraya

Food Crisis at the Horn of Africa


The United Nations office in-charge of Coordination of the Humanitarian Affairs has reported an increase in food scarcity in the horn of Africa Nations of Ethiopia and Somalia. This alarming problem has come as a result of minimal rainfall level than the projected. El Nino weather trends have only served to frustrate the farmers. The statistics indicates that this year, the number of hungry Ethiopians in need of food aid has raised to record 4.5 million. This according to OCHA is a 55% increase on 2.9 million estimated to need food aid during the year.

Ethiopia is one of the poorest Nations in the world. Many of these Countries are third world countries who majority of them are African Nations according to a report by UN. Millions of Ethiopians starve each year as a result food shortage.

The Economic crisis in this country is a well familiar problem globally. The majority of citizens which is 90% of the country’s population lives below the poverty line and depend on food aid from foreign countries. Thousands of young children die every year from starvation and malnutrition in this country. There are two times many citizens who suffer from starvation today as they were during the 1984 famine where a million citizens starved to death. More than 8 million Ethiopians are starving and in urgent need of food aid. The government receives millions of dollars & food aid from western nations like the United States annually. It’s unfortunate the TPLF led government find it appropriate to exchange food for money to purchase weapons and other military services while its citizen are suffering from starvation (Woodward, p 54, 2012).

This continued absence of rain has led to poor or absence of growth of the food crops, grass and has made it difficult for farmers to feed their animals. The little water that is available is used for human basic needs and hence animals are left without any meaningful water sources, reports David D Conte, the Ethiopia’s OCHA Chief.

In light of the weather patterns there is need by the Ethiopian governments to put adequate measures in place to ensure that this issue of food shortage is addressed early enough. The government should look at possible ways of carrying out farming as opposed to dependency on unreliable rainfall which in most times ends up frustrating the farmers (United Nations Environmental Program, 2007, p96).

In the year 2006, the countries of Ethiopia as well as the neighboring countries of Kenya, Djibouti and Somali faced very severe droughts that were at the time made worse due to the conflicts that involved the military and insecurities around the region. This insecurity led to humanitarian aid having problems accessing the areas so as to help. This drought as a result was estimated to have affected around 11 million people in total.

After the 2006 drought in the horn of Africa, 2011 presented an even worse drought and famine in the horn of Africa region. This drought and famine affected the countries of Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti left the countries in a worse condition than they had encountered in the year 2006. The main reason for the latter famine and drought was poor harvest caused by severe drought. Tens of thousands of people as a result died from starvation while millions of others were affected by the resultant malnutrition. This famine and drought was still as before, a problem that always seems to be hindering the delivery of humanitarian aid to the regions that are affected by famine and drought (Woodward, p 76, 2012)

As a way to curb the incidences of famine and drought, many officials in the country have started looking into interventions to this situations rather than development goals that are considered long term. The resultant problem has been the shortage of governmental funds that has been had to sustain through the years. However there have been several moves made by the officials of the countries involved to work as well as coordinate with the United Nations officials for further assistance. The implementation of such programs has included the adoption of programs such as the United Nations Development assistance Framework-UNDAF.

Writer can be reached at arifali209@gmail.com


Woodward, P. (2012). Crisis in the Horn of Africa: Politics, piracy and the threat of terror. London: Tauris.

United Nations Environment Programme. (2007). GEO year book 2007: An overview of our changing environment. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme.

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