Ladhan Waraq lost her eight-year-old daughter to a crippling food shortage that is sweeping the Horn of Africa, a collection of countries in Africa’s northeast. It’s a devastating wave of starvation that is so far affecting 10 million people. Ladhan trekked from Somalia to Kenya in order to seek the help of desperately stretched humanitarian organisations but lost her daughter on the way. The heat, the malnutrition, the exhausting walk across desolate landscape was too much. On the morning journalist Matt Wade found Ladhan, her baby Sahlan was at death’s door. The baby was saved just in time.
Their story is not an anomaly. It is one of hundreds of thousands as yet untold because the suffering in the Horn of Africa has largely gone unnoticed. Here is what is happening:
What is happening in the Horn of Africa?
The Horn of Africa, which is a region comprising the countries in Africa’s northeast, is experiencing the most severe drought in 60 years. 10 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Uganda and South Sudan (which has only recently became an independent nation) are now in desperate need of food, water and emergency healthcare. Many people are on the move, especially from war-ravaged Somalia, and the largest refugee camp in the world, Dadaab, in Kenya, is receiving approximately 1300 refugees a day – 800 of which are children.
Is this a famine?
[Since this was posted, a famine has been declared in the Horn of Africa. “Phase 5, ‘Famine/Humanitarian Catastrophe’, means more than two people per 10,000 die each day, acute malnutrition rates are above 30 per cent, all livestock is dead, and there is less than 2,100 kcal of food and 4 litres of water available per person per day.”]