Horn of Africa food crisis 2011

Photo: Alun McDonald

In 2011 large parts of East Africa suffered what was the worst food crisis of the 21st century.

Oxfam urgently needed funds to help reach people with life-saving food and water. We were seriously concerned that large numbers of lives could soon be lost.

We launched an appeal to raise $500,000 from the public to provide assistance to the millions of people across Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya who faced starvation.

Your contribution made a huge difference in saving lives.

The Horn of Africa

The situation

A drought in the Horn of Africa pushed over 13 million people into a fight for survival. Two successive poor rains, entrenched poverty, a lack of investment in affected areas and rocketing food prices meant people had lost virtually everything.

Oxfam was there

Oxfam was there, providing people with the life-saving water, food and sanitation they desperately need to stay alive. We reached three million people with our emergency response. We are also helping with long-standing threats to livelihoods, and helping to build the resilience of the communities we work with.

In pictures

Images from the Horn of Africa
Click on the images below to read stories from the Horn of Africa.

Latest news

Somalia’s food crisis remains critical and likely to worsen in coming months

October 8, 2012

A new survey of people across 40 regions of Somalia has found that water and food shortages are at critical levels and likely to deteriorate in parts of the country over the coming months, risking a prolonged humanitarian crisis well into next year.

Warning: "Deepening emergency" in Somalia may be two months away

July 18, 2012

One year after the declaration of famine in Somalia, a quarter of the country’s population are still surviving on humanitarian aid and over a million people could fall back into food crisis in the next two months, international agency Oxfam warned today. The agency is calling on the international community to increase investment in both emergency aid and long-term development so Somalis can sustain themselves through drought and conflict.

One year on, South Sudan falters under failing economy

July 6, 2012

One year after South Sudan’s independence on July 9, the young country is facing its worst humanitarian crisis since the end of the war in 2005, under the weight of severe economic meltdown and ongoing conflict. Long-term and emergency efforts to help nearly half the population, who don’t have enough to eat, could be derailed by an economy out of control, warned the international aid agency Oxfam.

Latest blogs

Barry Coates' blog from Dadaab, Horn of Africa 2011

October 4, 2011

The food crisis in the Horn of Africa is threatening the livelihoods of over 13 million people. Oxfam New Zealand Executive Director Barry Coates writes from Kenya where Oxfam is providing people with life-saving water, food shelter and sanitation. Oxfam is providing relief in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.


April 25, 2011

Here, those affected by the drought share their stories. Find out how Oxfam is supporting people with life-saving water, food and sanitation.

Latest stories

May 26, 2011

The Horn of Africa suffered from one of the driest years in memory. Severe shortages of food and water, along with spiralling food prices and the deaths of livestock,  plunged many families into destitution. Oxfam is there, reaching out to people with clean water, food, sanitation and providing health support.

June 6, 2006

This is an emergency that keeps happening. Severe droughts in 2008 led to a widespread food crisis in the Horn of Africa. Here is a story from Oxfam's response in 2008.

March 3, 2006

Pamela Ataa’s story is an all too common one in Turkana, northern Kenya. She speaks to Oxfam’s Jane Beesley about the desperate position that she, and many other pastoralists are now in.

You can help with future emergencies

Oxfam aims to respond immediately to humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters, but we can only do this if we have funds ready when they are needed. You can help: