In response to severe droughts and food insecurity in the Horn of Africa, the Dutch Relief Alliance will initiate two new Acute Crisis Responses in Kenya and Ethiopia to provide urgent humanitarian food assistance to communities in affected regions. The Acute Responses are funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will remain active for the next 6 months. DRA Partners are already active in the region, supporting communities affected by drought in Somalia.
In the past months, the Horn of Africa has seen historically low rainfall levels and severe heatwaves, leading to harsh droughts throughout the region. Between March and May of 2022, normally the rainy season, precipitation was far lower than average, marking another season in which local farmers struggle with crop and livestock productivity and death. Millions of people in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia have been affected, with consequent decreases in purchasing power leading to acute malnutrition and food insecurity. A report by Oxfam and Save the Children already estimates that one person is likely dying of hunger every 48 seconds in drought-ravaged Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
Forecasts suggest that heavy drought conditions will not improve over the next months, with meagre rainfall expected to continue throughout 2022 and into 2023, compounding the already widespread, drastic situation in which communities find themselves now.
The DRA responds immediately
The DRA Acute Response Mechanism allows the Alliance to respond without delay to acute crises like this one. The responses in Ethiopia and Kenya intend to meet the immediate emergency needs of communities, while contributing to mitigation of future risks that come with recurrent droughts in affected areas. For example, DRA aims to reduce risk of child mortality due to malnutrition, increase access to water for communities and livestock, and support communities with unconditional cash assistance to purchase food and other basic survival items.
In Ethiopia, the DRA Partners lead by Plan Netherlands will respond in regions most affected by drought, namely: Somali region (more than 3.5 million people affected by drought), Oromia region (more than 3.4 million affected), SNNP region (more than 1.1 million affected), and the South West region (more than 200,000 people affected). The Response will target primarily farmers, pastoralists and IDPs affected by the drought, as well as children under five suffering from acute malnutrition. The DRA is active in Ethiopia through a protracted Joint Response, and the Alliance will ensure that the two responses will complement each other.
In Kenya, the Acute Response will be lead by Tearfund, and will operate in the most affected regions, namely Mandera, Marsabit, Turkana and Wajir. The types of interventions will address mostly food security and livelihood support, WASH, and nutrition in an attempt to prevent severe, acute malnutrition. Similar to the Ethiopia JR, in Kenya DRA will target drought-affected households and farmers, as well as children under five that suffer from malnutrition.
Partnership with the Dutch MFA
The Dutch Relief Alliance is able to respond immediately to acute crises like those in Ethiopia and Kenya due to the long-standing partnership with and funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.