2011 East Africa Drought
Since mid-July 2011, a severe drought has been affecting the entire East Africa region. Said to be "the worst in 60 years", the drought has caused a severe food crisis across Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya that threatens the livelihood of 9.5 million people. Many refugees from southern Somalia have fled to neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, where crowded, unsanitary conditions together with severe malnutrition have led to a large number of deaths. Other countries in East Africa, including Sudan, South Sudan and parts of Uganda, are also affected by a food crisis According to FAO-Somalia, the food crisis in Somalia primarily affected farmers in the south rather than the northern pastoralists. On 20 July, the United Nations officially declared famine in two regions in the southern part of the country (IPC Phase 5), the first time a famine has been declared by the UN in nearly thirty years. Tens of thousands of people are believed to have died in southern Somalia before famine was declared. Although fighting disrupted aid delivery in some areas, a scaling up of relief operations in mid-November had unexpectedly significantly reduced malnutrition and mortality rates in southern Somalia, prompting the UN to downgrade the humanitarian situation in the Bay, Bakool and Lower Shabele regions from famine to emergency levels. According to the Lutheran World Federation, military activities in the country's southern conflict zones had also by early December 2011 greatly reduced the movement of migrants. By February 2012, several thousand people had also begun returning to their homes and farms. In addition, humanitarian access to rebel-controlled areas had improved and rainfall had surpassed expectations, improving the prospects of a good harvest in early 2012.