Jan Grarup | Noor
The droughts that have affected the Horn of Africa since July are the worst in over half a century, according to the United Nations. They have put an estimated 12 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia in need of relief.
Failed rains and harvests, massive loss of livestock herds and skyrocketing food prices have created a dramatic hunger crisis that is expected to persist well into the first quarter of 2012. Thousands of children have already died and more than 320,000 – half of them in central and southern Somalia – are suffering from life-threatening malnutrition.
Overwhelming the capacity of local government and international aid agencies in Ethiopia, more than 180,000 Somalis have entered the country since the beginning of the crisis. Huge numbers of Somalis have been forced out of their homes by an insurgency that has raged since the start of 2007. Much of the fighting now is between government forces and gunmen loyal to hardline Islamist group al Shabaab.
In the area around the border city of Dollo Ado between Somalia and Ethiopia, four large refugee camps – Hilaweyn, Kobe, Malkadida and Bokomayo – are extremely overcrowded, hosting more than 120,000 refugees. A fifth camp is under construction to deal with the big influx of people arriving daily.
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