East Africa drought

Poor rains in the previous two rainy seasons led to severe drought across large parts of the Horn of Africa in early 2011, leaving over 13 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

As the crisis peaked in mid 2011, families saw their crops fail and their livestock die from lack of pasture.  And whilst 2012 has brought some rains, they're not yet sufficient to enable people recover from the devastating impact of the drought over the last one year.  

In May 2011 we launched a fundraising appeal to raise £9 million to help people survive the crisis and get back on their feet as soon as possible. 

Donate now to help save lives.

What are we doing?

  • Over the last year and a half, our response has reached more than 380,000 of the most vulnerable people across Kenya, including women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities and people living with HIV/AIDS
  • During the initial emergency phase we provided vital supplies of food, water, and support for people's livelihoods to hundreds of thousands of people.
  • Working with local partners and the UN World Food Programme, ActionAid continues to distribute vital food supplies to over 200,000 people in the drought-hit Mwingi and Isiolo districts of Kenya. 
  • In Garissa and Isiolo, Kenya, we bought ailing livestock for slaughter from families for a decent price, rather than them being forced to sell at poor market rates.  And we provided families with new livestock to help replenish lost animals.
  • In Isiolo, Kenya, our award-winning project uses mobile phone technology to establish two-way communications with communities, helping save lives and reduce suffering for people like Sellina 
  • In Ethiopia, we provided vital food supplies for over 10,000 people in the Oromia region
  • As our response moves on from the emergency phase, we're supporting communities to become more resilient to future crisis by helping them develop alternative livelihoods, and installing water structures that will help communities withstand the impacts of future droughts.
  • We've trained women to recognise and address violations in their rights resulting from their increased burden of work as they struggle to support their families during the ongoing drought.  And we're working with communities to help them hold their authorities and government to account for fulfilling their rights.

Addressing underlying causes

Drought in East Africa is certainly not new.  The cyclical nature of drought in this part of the world means it’s important to look at the long term causes and how these can be addressed.   

  • ActionAid is investing in projects which aim to support communities before drought hits, to help avoid or reduce the impact of poor rains.  This includes putting in place irrigation schemes designed to ensure people can access water even in times of drought. 
  • Our teams on the ground will be working with communities affected by the drought for at least the next 3 years.
  • We’re also undertaking research into the links between drought and climate change, to see how we can support people to become more resilient to future crises.


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