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Horn of Africa Drought

Drought, conflict and hunger have rendered close to 13 million people in need of emergency aid in the Horn of Africa.

  • Providing better health care and encouraging pastoral farmers to reduce their livestock in times of crisis make a difference to the lives of the people of Moyale

The European Union has committed more than half a billion euro to helping the suffering people of Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and particularly Somalia, where decades of civil war have contributed to the first official declaration of famine by the UN since 1992.

The EU has given more than a third of the overall international assistance in the Horn of Africa crisis - more than €720 million in 2011. Of this, almost €181 million comes from the humanitarian budget of the European Commission. In 2012 the Commission has allocated €102 million for humanitarian aid in the Horn of Africa.

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The combination of drought and conflict has been at its deadliest in Somalia, from where more than 300 000 people have fled in 2011. Dadaab, in northern Kenya, is now the world's largest camp of its kind with a population of more than 400 000. The UN declaration that famine no longer exist within Somalia is welcome news. Yet, the challenges remain, particularly in Somalia, where humanitarian agencies struggle with insecurity and difficulty to get aid through to those who need it.

The Commission has been closely following the drought evolution since its onset last year. It is vital that the emergency response remains adequate to the humanitarian needs to avoid further deterioration.

The emergency response has been vital, but vulnerability to drought and the risk of hunger require long-term solutions. These solutions depend on strengthening the links between relief, recovery and development and sharpening the focus on preparedness and disaster risk reduction.

Since 2006, the European Commission has been actively involved in disaster risk reduction in the Horn of Africa through its Regional Drought Decision. This initiative focuses
on drought preparedness and aims to make local communities more resilient to cope with recurrent drought. The programme's objective is to reduce the need for emergency response to future droughts.

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