Epic Drought in Ethiopia and Somalia; Possible Famine

The worst drought in 60 years is plaguing large portions of the Horn of Africa.  Somalia and Ethiopia are the worst hit.  One organization is warning of a famine.

– Localized famine could be witnessed in some of the worst drought-affected areas in southern Somalia in September, warns the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS-Net). Using the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) five-point scale, this would be phase five: “catastrophe/famine”.

The scale, developed by the Somalia-focused Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), led by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, is used by FEWS-Net and most other aid agencies in their analysis of the drought and food situation in the Horn of Africa.

The IPC scale ranges from “generally food secure” to “famine/humanitarian catastrophe”, based on a range of data relating to rainfall, market prices, agricultural production, food security and nutrition.

Large areas of southeastern Ethiopia, southern Somalia and northeastern Kenya are already in phase four, the “emergency” phase.

The drought and food crisis is compounded by the fact that this area of the world is home to a huge refugee population. Dadaab, listed on the map above, is the largest refugee camp in the world.  Almost 450,000 Somalis who have fled violence now call this Kenyan refugee camp home.  It is the  epicenter of these twin crises.

Channel 4 News has a harrowing report from the camp.