Skip to main content

East Africa: Droughts

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL7, tabled on 10 May 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the drought in the East and Horn of Africa; and what steps they are taking to increase humanitarian assistance for the region.

Answered on

24 May 2022

East Africa is experiencing one of its most severe droughts in history with more than 15 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, according to the UN, assessed to be acutely food insecure. Needs are particularly grave in Somalia where an estimated 81,000 people are now experiencing catastrophic famine-like conditions. A fourth consecutive - and unprecedented - season of failed rains is pushing millions of people to the brink and is contributing to growing water scarcity, alarming rates of malnutrition and huge numbers of livestock deaths.

The UK is a major humanitarian donor to the East Africa region. In 2022 to support communities affected by drought plus flooding and conflict the UK has provided £72.25 million to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan. Across the region UK funded humanitarian activities are making a difference and saving lives. For example, in Kenya to respond to the ongoing drought, 26,000 children will receive life-saving food assistance thanks to the UK's support. In Ethiopia a further 200,000 children and pregnant and lactating women in southern and eastern regions will receive similar urgent aid.

The UK also played a critical role in convening the recent 'UN Horn of Africa Drought Roundtable' which took place in late April in Geneva. This included working with states in the region and the UN to ensure appropriate levels of participation.It helped to bring much needed focus to the drought and importantly it mobilised roughly US$400 million in new funding.

Our response to the drought builds on long-established resilience building programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. In Kenya this includes support to the Hunger Safety Programme, which has provided 600,000 people in drought prone areas with regular financial assistance. In Ethiopia, the UK funded Productive Safety Net Programme has benefitted some 8 million people via financial welfare provision and community public works projects. In Somalia the UK has been supporting over 220 rural communities in three large urban cities with durable solutions initiatives for internally displaced persons. These programmes, coupled with additional investments, have enabled the UK to reach nearly 8 million individuals as a part of its emergency humanitarian response.

The UK remains committed to promoting peace and security across the Horn of Africa.