Protection Implications of the Drought in the Horn of Africa region, September 2022

The Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia) is experiencing severe drought following four consecutive seasons with low rainfall. Figures from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) present a concerning estimate of at least 18.4 million people who are acutely food insecure (IPC 3+).1 According to the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group, an estimated 18.6-21.1 million people are at risk of acute food insecurity. 2 Many drought-affected communities are struggling to cope with the cumulative consequences of other shocks, including conflict and insecurity, climate change (flooding, drought, and food insecurity), COVID-19, ongoing impacts of desert locusts on agropastoral communities, and economic factors affecting supply chain and inflation increasing the costs of basic goods and services.
The impact of the Ukraine crisis continues to compound all these shocks with global wheat prices at a record high in June 2022 and the international community redirecting its financial and humanitarian support to the Ukraine emergency. Internally Displaced People (IDPs), refugees, asylum seekers, returnees, stateless persons and migrants are at a heightened risk of food insecurity as many have left behind assets, lost their social capital, and livelihoods.
A recent UNHCR Standardised Expanded Nutrition Survey (SENS) reported “Critical” levels of child malnutrition (wasting, stunting and anemia) amongst refugee children, specifically in refugee sites in Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda.3 This situation comes in the wake of humanitarian funding shortfalls that have contributed to food ration cuts4 and amplified the cross-sectional protection needs of the most vulnerable.

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees