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The Horn is Confronted with a Severe Food Security Crisis

After multiple failed harvests and amid high global food prices, the Horn is confronted with a severe food security crisis. Some 37 million people face acute hunger in the region, which includes Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. In Somalia alone, 40% of the population is facing food insecurity: about 6.7 million people. In neighbouring Ethiopia, the proportion is lower – 20% – but the absolute numbers are higher at 20.4 million. So how did Somalia and Ethiopia stack up on the three factors that contribute to a bad situation being made worse? In the lead-up to Somalia’s famine in 2011, the country faced persistent problems of a weak national government that was being challenged by Al-Shabaab, a violent Islamist militia that controlled significant territory in the south of the country. For its part, the Ethiopian government invested in social safety net programmes to feed people in the midst of the drought through cash transfers, employment programmes and food assistance.