NPR logo

Famine Affects Millions In Horn Of Africa

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/138754007/138754000" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Famine Affects Millions In Horn Of Africa

Africa

Famine Affects Millions In Horn Of Africa

Famine Affects Millions In Horn Of Africa

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/138754007/138754000" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
  • Women line up to sign up for World Food Program emergency distributions in Dolo, Somalia, on July 24. World Food Program executive director Josette Sheeran has estimated 2.2 million Somalis are in desperate need of aid.
    Hide caption
    Women line up to sign up for World Food Program emergency distributions in Dolo, Somalia, on July 24. World Food Program executive director Josette Sheeran has estimated 2.2 million Somalis are in desperate need of aid.
    Jason Straziuso/AP
  • A Somali refugee mother and child sit in their makeshift hut on the edge of the Hagadera refugee camp on July 24. The camp makes up part of the giant Dadaab refugee settlement.
    Hide caption
    A Somali refugee mother and child sit in their makeshift hut on the edge of the Hagadera refugee camp on July 24. The camp makes up part of the giant Dadaab refugee settlement.
    Oli Scarff/Getty Images
  • Somali refugees return from collecting water July 22 at the edge of the Dagahaley refugee camp, also part of the Dadaab settlement.
    Hide caption
    Somali refugees return from collecting water July 22 at the edge of the Dagahaley refugee camp, also part of the Dadaab settlement.
    Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images
  • Aden Salaad, 2, is bathed by his mother in a tub at a Doctors Without Borders hospital, where Aden is receiving treatment for malnutrition, in Dagahaley camp, outside Dadaab, Kenya on July 11.
    Hide caption
    Aden Salaad, 2, is bathed by his mother in a tub at a Doctors Without Borders hospital, where Aden is receiving treatment for malnutrition, in Dagahaley camp, outside Dadaab, Kenya on July 11.
    Rebecca Blackwell/AP
  • Newly arrived refugees wait for tents at the Dagahaley camp on July 21. The refugee settlement at Dadaab was designed in the early 1990s to accommodate 90,000 people, but the U.N. estimates more than four times as many reside there.
    Hide caption
    Newly arrived refugees wait for tents at the Dagahaley camp on July 21. The refugee settlement at Dadaab was designed in the early 1990s to accommodate 90,000 people, but the U.N. estimates more than four times as many reside there.
    Oli Scarff/Getty Images
  • The worst drought to affect the Horn of Africa in six decades has affected an estimated 11 million people. Somalia has been hardest hit.
    Hide caption
    The worst drought to affect the Horn of Africa in six decades has affected an estimated 11 million people. Somalia has been hardest hit.
    Oli Scarff/Getty Images
  • Relatives and friends watch as the final shovelfuls of dusty soil are placed over the grave of 4-year-old Aden Ibrahim, on the outskirts of Ifo 2 camp on July 12.
    Hide caption
    Relatives and friends watch as the final shovelfuls of dusty soil are placed over the grave of 4-year-old Aden Ibrahim, on the outskirts of Ifo 2 camp on July 12.
    Rebecca Blackwell/AP
  • Refugees wait in the registration area of the Ifo refugee camp on July 20.
    Hide caption
    Refugees wait in the registration area of the Ifo refugee camp on July 20.
    Oli Scarff/Getty Images
  • Suldano Osman, 1, is steadied by her mother's hand as a pediatrician attaches a feeding tube to aid her treatment for malnutrition at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the Dagahaley camp on July 11.
    Hide caption
    Suldano Osman, 1, is steadied by her mother's hand as a pediatrician attaches a feeding tube to aid her treatment for malnutrition at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the Dagahaley camp on July 11.
    Rebecca Blackwell/AP
  • An elderly refugee rests in the Ifo refugee camp on July 20.
    Hide caption
    An elderly refugee rests in the Ifo refugee camp on July 20.
    Oli Scarff/Getty Images
  • A malnourished cow walks along a road near the giant Dadaab refugee settlement on July 21.
    Hide caption
    A malnourished cow walks along a road near the giant Dadaab refugee settlement on July 21.
    Oli Scarff/Getty Images

1 of 11

View slideshow i

Guests

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, West Africa correspondent, NPR
Ted Koppel, commentator, NPR
Chris Barrett, agricultural and development economist, Cornell University

The famine in Somalia is the first official famine declared by the United Nations since 1984, when nearly a million people died in Ethiopia and neighboring Sudan. Now, more than 10 million people in the Horn of Africa are desperately short on food, and the international community has pledged to respond.

The word "famine" is a trigger for international assistance. Supplies and aid workers are already on the scene in Ethiopia and Kenya, and much more is on the way. However, southern Somalia, where the famine is the worst, presents a major problem: Much of the area is controlled by the terrorist group al-Shabaab, which denies that a crisis exists and rejects the presence of foreigners.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports on the crisis from Kenya, where thousands of Somalis are flooding refugee camps. Commentator Ted Koppel, who was in Somalia in the early '90s during the Battle of Mogadishu, discusses the unintended consequences of humanitarian impulse. Chris Barrett, an agricultural and development economist at Cornell University and co-author of Food Aid After Fifty Years, joins the conversation from Ithaca, N.Y.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.