Climate crisis

Drought in eastern Africa.


October 2023

From 2020 to 2023, a prolonged drought in eastern Africa caused the driest conditions seen in decades and widespread food shortages.

We urgently need your help to provide farmers, who rely on rainfall to feed their livestock, grow crops and make a living from agriculture, with farm inputs like drought-tolerant seeds and support to prepare them for future climate extremes.

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The most extensive and persistent drought in decades hit the Horn of Africa in October 2020 due to poor rainfall and its impacts are continuing to affect the region.

Farmers and their families have been living on the brink of an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe without sufficient food, water and crops for the last three years.

The deterioration in condition and deaths of many livestock, water shortages and record-low vegetation conditions are just some of the results of this devastating drought, which has led to mass hunger, disease outbreaks, acutely malnourished children, displacement and diverse economic shocks such as rising fuel and fertiliser prices, currency depreciation and inflation.

Current conditions

The region is now finally experiencing wetter conditions, particularly in eastern and northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia, which are critical in reducing food insecurity.

But recovery needs remain very high as these conditions are a result of the El Niño phenomenon which brings with it heavy rains.

While the prospect of increased rainfall offer a reprieve, the above-normal levels present new threats such as flooding and desert locusts.

Where floods pose the risks of displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, damage to properties and crops, limited access to schools and hospitals and water-borne diseases, desert locusts, a threat witnessed in 2019, could affect crop and livestock production.

While help has arrived through humanitarian assistance to mitigate some food shortages, assistance is outpaced by the scale and severity of the situation.

Comprehensive preparation and support are needed to alleviate the complex risks arising from volatile weather events and existing challenges in the region. Proactive measures and response strategies must be in place to help smallholder farmers better cope with the impacts and build more sustainable and secure livelihoods.

How Farm Africa is helping

In the Borena zone in the Oromia National Regional State of Ethiopia, where the drought dried up pasture and livestock suffered from acute shortages of water and land, Farm Africa and SOS Sahel Ethiopia delivered emergency supplies of animal forage, thanks to funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia, in the hope to save livestock.

But we need your help to do more.

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