East Africa Drought: Update on the IRC's response
Dahiro Ibrahim Ahmed, 29, fled the drought with her eight children to Dadaab, Kenya. There, her family waits to be registered to get much-needed food, water and health care.
Dahiro Ibrahim Ahmed, 29, fled the drought with her eight children to Dadaab, Kenya. There, her family waits to be registered to get much-needed food, water and health care. (Photo: Peter Biro/IRC)
The drought in East Africa is the worst in 60 years, with more than 13 million people in urgent need of food and assistance. Poor rains have led to crop failure, loss of livestock and soaring food prices, and famine has been declared in six areas of southern Somalia. Some 750,000 people are estimated to be facing famine and the risk of death in Somalia alone. Somali refugees must walk for days or weeks to reach Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, in northeast Kenya, or the Dolo Ado camps in Ethiopia. In central Somalia and northern and eastern Kenya malnutrition is at its highest rate since 2003. The International Rescue Committee (IRC)—which has worked in the region since the1990s and has been responding to the current drought for over a year—is mobilizing a multi-faceted aid effort across Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia.
How the IRC is helping in East Africa
In the Mudug region of central Somalia, the IRC is building and repairing wells, hand pumps and pipelines and training community volunteers in hygiene. The IRC is also providing emergency water supplies to women, children and the elderly who have been left behind by men searching for water and arable land and is aiding the communities that take them in. Over 77,000 Somalis, including 17,500 internally displaced people, are taking part in livelihoods programs including livestock distribution and cash-for-work.
In Hagadera, the IRC, in partnership with the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, is providing new arrivals with medical screening, assistance and emergency care. At the IRC hospital in Hagadera, IRC doctors and nurses treat some 500 refugees daily, including malnourished young children who receive fortified food at the IRC’s nutrition stabilization center. The IRC also provides medical care and counseling to rape and sexual assault survivors and is expanding health care to include the local Kenyan host community. In Kambioos, a new camp in Dadaab, the IRC has installed temporary tents to provide medical care. The IRC runs a mobile health clinic that provides primary health care to refugees who are outside Hagadera awaiting registration and is vaccinating refugee children against polio and measles as part of a mass immunization campaign underway in Dadaab.