Famine and Drought Endanger Millions of People in Eastern Africa


Eastern Africa, especially Somalia, has been hit by severe droughts in the last few years. Apart from the war-torn country, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti are also affected. Over 25% of the Somali population are hard hit by famine and have left their homes. According to the United Nations it is the worst drought in Eastern Africa in more than 60 years.

Although lack of rainfall is mostly responsible for the dry period, governments have not done enough to cope with the disaster. They have not spent enough money on irrigation projects. Somalia is hardest hit because, for the last twenty years, the country has been in the middle of a civil war without a functioning government.  Somali warlords and militant groups have stopped aid workers from getting to the places where people face hunger and need help. Tribal and clan wars have driven people off their land.

Most of the people who live in the famine-stricken areas are nomads who raise livestock. They have lost most of their animals and it will take years before they can raise the livestock they need to feed themselves.

The drought has not only led to famine but has caused unemployment across Eastern Africa. As a result Somali men are becoming pirates and hijacking western ships off the coast. Western countries are trying hard to help the region but up to now without success. African peacekeepers have been sent to the region but can only control a small part of Somalia. The country was hit by a severe famine and drought, twenty years ago, after the civil war started.

One of the main problems is that there is not enough help getting through to those who really need it. In most cases food and medicine are stopped by gangs or pirates. As time goes on more and more Somalis are continuing to cross the borders to neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya, countries that have food problems of their own.


Children Hit by Famine in Eastern Africa

Children Hit by Famine in Eastern Africa - Oxfam East Africa


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  • according to = as said by …
  • affect = here: hit
  • aid worker = a person who tries to help others and the brings them food and medicine
  • although = while
  • apart from = also
  • border = line between two countries
  • cause = lead to
  • civil war = war in which two groups of the same country fight against each other
  • clan = large group of families , often with the same name
  • cope = deal with
  • drought = long period of dry weather
  • especially = above all
  • famine = a situation in which many people have little or no food for a long time
  • functioning = working
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • hijack = take control of
  • irrigation = to bring water to farming land
  • lack = not enough
  • main = very important
  • peacekeeper = soldiers who are sent to a region to stop two or more groups from fighting
  • responsible = the reason for something
  • severe = hard
  • tribal = about a social group who have the same language and customs and have a common leader
  • unemployment = when you do not have a job
  • warlord = the leader of a rebel group who fights against the official government of a country or against other rebel groups