Severe drought, crop failure, livestock deaths, soaring food prices and armed conflict are forcing millions of people in the Horn of Africa to flee their homes, creating what U.S. State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development officials Tuesday described as “staggering hunger,” with more than 11 million people now in need of emergency assistance. The drought, officials say, is the most severe in 60 years and is expected to get worse, pushing many more families into desperate searches for food and protection.
In a briefing at the State Department, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, U.S. assistant secretary for African affairs, said the drought has generated “extraordinary flows of refugees across thousands of miles of East Africa.” Carson said in Kenya an estimated 3.6 million people have been affected. Millions more are suffering in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia. Hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees already are in Kenya and Ethiopia and “new arrivals are coming in staggering daily rates,” Carson said. Many of them are suffering from life-threatening malnutrition, he said, and there are many more in need in Eritrea, where a repressive regime is refusing to provide data on the humanitarian needs of its people.
Jill Dougherty, U.S. musters response to ‘staggering hunger’ in Horn of AfricaBy ,CNN, July 19, 2011