The United Nations declared ‘famine’ in 6 regions of Somalia (over a period of a few months) including the capital Moghadishu and the regions of Afgooye (outside the capital), Bakool, Bay, Middle Shabelle and Lower Shabelle.
Malnutrition rose, exceeding global emergency malnutrition rates. Many communities were forced to move away from the worst-affected areas looking for better opportunities. As families and communities travelled long distances in search of food, the risks of a disease outbreak increased.
School dropout rates also increased following the migration of households in search of water and pasture.
With low rainfall food became increasingly scarce. Crop yields were down and large numbers of livestock died. Pastoralists, poor households and children were among the most affected. In some areas cereal prices increased to nearly 2.5 times what they were on the previous year.
Consecutive droughts in recent years eroded the coping mechanisms of communities across the region. With the 2011 wet season producing as little as a fifth of the normal rainfall, the situation became what the UN’s emergency head described as “the most severe food crisis in the world today”.
World Vision has been working in East Africa for more than 40 years. Emergency programmes began in Ethiopia in 1971, with development activities following. Work in Kenya began in 1974, with the first World Vision activities beginning in Somalia in 1992.