July 15, 2011 Dalkayaga@gmail.com
In the wake of the worst drought in the Horn of Africa since the 1950s, more than 10 million people--primarily in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia--are in need of emergency assistance. In response to this urgent need, the U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID) is standing up a Nairobi-based Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to help expedite additional U.S. Government humanitarian aid to the Horn.
The United States is one of the largest donors of emergency assistance to the eastern Horn of Africa, providing $366 million to date this fiscal year. The DART, which is comprised of regional disaster and food experts across Ethiopia and Kenya, is working to assure that needs are being met as efficiently and effectively as possible. U.S. assistance to the eastern Horn of Africa provides life-saving nutrition, health care, clean water, proper sanitation, and hygiene education and supplies to help more than 4.1 million people.
"We are very concerned about the sky-high malnutrition rates we are seeing in the Horn, especially in Somali refugees arriving in camps in Kenya and Ethiopia," said Nancy Lindborg, USAID's Assistant Administrator of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. "One out of every two Somalis now arriving in Ethiopia is acutely malnourished, and one out of three arriving in Kenya is acutely malnourished."
The USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) began warning of the pending crisis in the Horn of Africa in August 2010. In response to these early indicators, USAID began pre-positioning food stocks in the region last year and began ramping up emergency programs that provide assistance including water and life-saving nutrition in January 2011.