19/07/2012 - Last year, severe drought in the countries of the Horn of Africa – Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia – caused one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises of this century. The entire region faced its worst drought in 60 years. More than 13 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance. And for the first time since 1992, the United Nations declared famine because of the lack of access to food in parts of southern Somalia.
As one of the world’s leading donors to this food crisis, the European Union has provided €788 million to the region since 2011. The European Commission alone allocated €181 million of humanitarian aid in 2011 to assist 6.5 million vulnerable people by providing food, nutrition, water and sanitation.
Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response has visited the region twice since the beginning of the crisis: "The best way to remember the victims of this crisis, and for the sake of the people who suffered, it is our duty to make sure that there will be no more famine. We have put this pledge at the core of our activities in the Horn of Africa with the SHARE initiative, and we've drawn lessons for our work in other regions, plagued by chronic crises, such as the Sahel".Last year’s humanitarian assistance, together with a relatively good rainy season this year, have improved food security in the Horn of Africa. However, vulnerability remains high in all areas affected by the 2011 drought and in those areas that have not received sufficient rainfall this year. In Somalia due to on-going conflict the humanitarian situation remains critical. Almost 1 million Somali refugees are residing in neighbouring countries, almost 500,000 of whom are found in the world's largest refugee camps Dadaab, in northeast Kenya, and over 150,000 refugees are in the Dollo Ado camps in Ethiopia. To avoid the next crisis, the European Commission has already allocated €132 million of humanitarian assistance to the region this year and stands ready to allocate further funds if the situation deteriorates.
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