Supplies are unloaded from a lorry in Somalia

East Africa Crisis
Appeal 2011

East Africa Crisis
Appeal 2011

Rice, beans and cooking oil are unloaded in Somalia in 2011. Image: Pedram Yazdi/ICRC

i X

Key achievements

finance icon

£79 million

raised for this appeal

humanitarian aid icon

9 million

people reached with life saving aid

In 2011 the worst droughts in 25 years left more than 13 million people across East Africa in urgent need of food, water and emergency healthcare

The devastating droughts that struck Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan in 2011 left 13 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. In Somalia the situation was exacerbated further by ongoing civil war, which had been impacting the country for the past 20 years. At the time, one in five children in Somalia died before their fifth birthday. 

Our appeal raised £72 million, at the time this was one of the DEC’s largest fundraising totals in it’s 50 year history. 

This money was spent across the impacted countries over a period of two years, to ensure that people not only survived the immediate crisis, but were able to rebuild their lives long term.

A food distribution in Makima, Kenya. Image: Chris Morgan/Action Aid


  • Much of the area known as the Horn of Africa is semi-arid and suffers regular droughts.
  • In Somalia 20 years of civil war made the country one of the poorest and most dangerous in the world. One in five children die before their 5th birthday.
  • Kenya was ranked 128th of 169 counties in the 2010 UN Human Development Index (HDI)
  • Ethiopia had seen some progress in reducing poverty and helping communities build drought resilience but remained 157th of 169 countries on HDI and 44% of its people were chronically undernourished.
  • South Sudan was the newest nation on earth, having gained 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. 


  • In parts of the region, where records are available, this was worst drought in more than sixty years.
  • Over 13 million people in urgent need of food aid including 4 million in Somalia, 3.75 million in Kenya and over 4.5 million in Ethiopia.
  • In south central Somalia the crisis reached the status of a famine in six regions - 750,000 people in these areas were at risk of dying before the end of the year.

One of the most immediate needs was to bring safe clean drinking water to people across East Africa. 

Our member charities and their local partners concentrated on providing long term solutions to provide communities with safe water, including building and restoring water systems and wells. 

56-year-old Medina lives in Meti village in southern Ethiopia. Medina spoke about the impact of the drought and the importance of safe water to her community: “Before the drought we had 50 cattle and life was good. Now we have five left. We lost our cattle and we might have lost our lives too but for the aid from different agencies and the government which allowed us to survive. 

“The best things about the well are that it is close and the water is pure. We used to walk two kilometres to another village to fetch water that wasn’t even clean… Now things are getting better, we don’t get diseases from the dirty water, the children have clean water to drink and can take clean water in a bottle with them to school.” 

A British Airways cargo flight laden with Oxfam supplies awaits departure at Stansted Airport. Image: David Levene


  • 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 had seen to date
  • 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.

East Africa Crisis 2011 Independent Evaluation

Read more about how funds were spent and the lessons learned


raised for the 2011 East Africa Crisis Appeal. Thank you!