Horn of Africa - Key Facts and Figures from UNICEF

Thursday 11 August 2011, 5:13PM
By UNICEF New Zealand

General Information

  • An estimated 12.4million people in the Horn of Africa need urgent humanitarian support
  • Over 2.3 million children are estimated to be malnourished across the regions
  • Over half a million severely malnourished children are at imminent risk of death
  • Famine has been declared in Lower Shabelle and parts of Bakool in southern Somali as well as in the agropastoral areas of Middle Shabelle, Afgoye IDP settlement and the Mogadishu IDP Community.
  • Other southern regions of Somalia, currently in very critical condition, may also reach famine in the coming weeks
  • Tens of thousands of people have died and many more lives are at risk
  • 3.7 million people in Somalia, almost half the population, are in crisis
  • 1.4 million children in southern Somalia alone are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance
  • In Somalia only 30% of the population has access to clean water (20% in some southern areas)
  • This is not just a food crisis but a crisis for child survival. Malnutrition isn’t just the result of a lack of food but a combination of other factors like poor health services and unsafe water and sanitation.
  • This is a double disaster - while the situation is most dire for those displaced inside Somalia and the refugees recently arrived in Kenya and Ethiopia, the majority of people affected by the drought live outside the camps in pastoralist communities across the region


Health and Malnutrition

  • Famine is declared when more than 30% of children under five years of age are acutely malnourished, people are receiving considerably less than 2100 calories a day and more than two people are dying per 10,000 every day (or four child deaths per 10,000 children).
  • In Somalia more than 780,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished
  • In most regions of the south of Somalia 1 in 5 children are severely malnourished. In some areas as many as 1 in 3 are severely malnourished and at high risk of death
  • Malnourished children are especially susceptible to disease. In Southern Somalia vaccination coverage is just 26 per cent - one of the lowest in the world
  • Measles and malaria epidemics are expected when the seasonal rains come in October. During the 1991/2 famine, a significant number of deaths followed the start of the October rains because health interventions were inadequate to prevent major disease outbreaks
  • Immediate assistance is needed to stop the situation worsening in the coming months.


Displacement and Internally Displaced People (IDP)

  • The drought has created an influx of refugees from Somalia to Kenya and Ethiopia. At present there are more than 760,000 refugees in need of assistance
  • There are currently 17,600 refugees in Djibouti, 514,000 in Kenya and 228,000 in Ethiopia
  • Current estimates are that 3,500 people are arriving each day in Kenya and Ethiopia (1300 to Dadaab in Kenya)
  • The total population of the Dadaab camps is 400,000, including 222,000 children. Children and women represent 80 percent of the total population of the camps.
  • 1.46 million people are displaced within Somalia and living in poor conditions (58% are children).
  • The majority of IDPs (409,000) are living along the Afgooye Corridor, a 30 kilometre stretch of road between Mogadishu to Afgooye Town.


UNICEF support for children

  • UNICEF is massively scaling up our work across the Horn of Africa providing therapeutic foods, water and sanitation and carrying out huge vaccination campaigns
  • UNICEF is the single largest agency delivering therapeutic and supplementary nutrition services in Somalia, working in all areas of the South either with our own staff or with long-term partners.
  • In July by plane, truck and ship, UNICEF delivered 1300 metric tons of critical supplies to some of the hardest hit areas in southern Somalia.
  • UNICEF is providing assistance to people wherever they are located. The priority is to reach people before they have to move from their homes.
  • In Somalia alone, UNICEF is the main provider of high-calorie therapeutic food, and supports 800 feeding centres in Somalia, where we plan to help 100,000 severely malnourished children.
  • UNICEF’s main area of scaling up is ‘blanket supplementary feeding’ where we aim to cover the gap of lack of food aid to reach 150,000 families in Somalia in the next two months
  • UNICEF is also targeting a total of 1.8million people with water and sanitation services
  • UNICEF’s health interventions will reach 2 million women and children. We have launched a massive vaccination campaign for children living in the host communities around Dadaab refugee camp in Northern Kenya. The campaign will target almost 203,000 children under five. UNICEF will also work with partners to vaccinate every child in Somalia (under the age of 15) against measles – a total of 2.5 million children.


Supporting UNICEF’s work

  • UNICEF needs an estimated USD$315m to the end of 2011 with a current shortfall of $189m.
  • Means to save children’s lives are inexpensive and every donation matters
  • For only NZ $40, 100 children can be vaccinated
  • Sachets of oral rehydration salts cost only NZ 10c each
  • Packets of therapeutic foods cost only NZ 70c each
  • Please donate now at or call 0800 800 194.