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East and Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes Region: UNHCR Drought Situation Response Update #1 - August 2022

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Situation Overview

On 28 June 2022, UNHCR launched a regional Drought Response Emergency Appeal for the Horn of Africa appealing for urgent support to help displaced people and local host communities affected by the catastrophic drought. To deliver life-saving assistance and protection to some 1.5 million refugees, internally displaced people and host communities affected by the drought in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, UNHCR requires US$ 42.6 million to cover critical humanitarian needs in IDP and refugee settlements including water, sanitation facilities, nutrition, healthcare, and protection until the end of 2022. UNHCR is targeting 943,000 IDPs in Ethiopia and Somalia and 576,000 refugees along with their host communities in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

Inside Somalia, more than 758,000 people have been internally displaced due to drought in 2022, bringing the total figure to more than 1 million people since January 2021 when the drought began. Water sources have dried up and crops and livestock have died, stripping people of their livelihoods and the ability to support themselves. The catastrophic drought is putting communities on the brink of famine as underscored by humanitarian leaders including High Commissioner Grandi in a recent joint statement warning that the window for preventing a famine in Somalia is closing, calling for action and additional resources to provide urgent assistance and avert a worst case scenario.. The situation is likely to worsen as a fifth failed rainy season is expected.

In Ethiopia, new internal displacements due to both conflict and drought – particularly in the drought affected Somali and Oromia regions – have put a strain on the already limited resources available to support UNHCR’s people of concern in Ethiopia. Over 16,000 Somalis had crossed into Dollo Ado, Ethiopia from the end of 2021 to June 2022. The effects of the drought are compounded by a 50% cut in food assistance to refugees throughout the country. The rise in the price of fuel, fertilizers, construction materials, labour cost, and overall cost of living is making the life of refugees, IDPs and host communities unbearable, while also increasing the cost of humanitarian operations. In Kenya, 19 of the 23 arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) counties are experiencing the effects of drought.

Turkana and Garissa, each of which hosts over 220,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, are particularly affected by the ongoing drought, and are among the 14 counties that are in a crisis state of food insecurity. Garissa is also among the counties experiencing high rates of acute malnutrition. Over 10,000 Somali refugees have also arrived in Kenya this year, fleeing a complex mix of conflict and drought. Another 8,000 mainly South Sudanese refugees have arrived to the drought affected Kakuma camp.