Much of the area known as the Horn of Africa is semi-arid and suffers regular droughts.
After 20 years of civil war the country is one of the poorest and most dangerous in the world. One in five children die before their 5th birthday.
Ranked 128th of 169 counties in the 2010 UN Human Development Index (HDI) with nearly 20% of the population living on less then $US1.25 per day.
Some progress in reducing poverty and helping communities build drought resilience in the last 10 years but remains 157th of 169 countries on HDI and 44% of its people are chronically undernourished.
The newest nation on earth gained its independence from Sudan in July 2011. This was one of the poorest parts of Sudan before the split and Sudan ranked 154th in the 2010 HDI.
The impact of the crisis
- In parts of the region, where records are available, this is worst drought in more than sixty years.
- Over 13 million people are in urgent need of food aid including 4m in Somalia, 3.75m in Kenya and over 4.5m in Ethiopia.
- There are six areas in south central Somalia where the crisis is now officially famine - 750,000 people in these areas are at risk of dying before the end of the year.
DEC Appeal And response
- In the first 100 days after the appeal was launched the DEC and its member agencies raised £72m, one of the largest fundraising totals we have ever seen in our 45 year history.
- DEC member agencies and their partners used DEC funds and money from other sources to reach nine million people in Kenya, Ethiopia and even the hardest to reach areas of Somalia.
What is famine?
UN experts declared a famine when:
- at least 20 percent of the population faces extreme food deficits
- Global Acute Malnutrition exceeds 30 percent
- and the death rate exceeds two people out of every 10,000 per day for the entire population.