Horn of Africa Region: The Humanitarian Crisis and International Response

As a result of the worst drought in 60 years, regional conflicts, and conflict within states, a humanitarian emergency of massive proportion has unfolded over the past year in the Horn of Africa region. Current estimates suggest that more than 13.3 million people are currently affected, 250,000 of whom need food assistance in the near term to avoid death. Somalia has been hardest hit so far, creating population displacement within its borders and a refugee crisis of nearly 1 million people in the region, primarily in Kenya and Ethiopia.

The international community continues to respond with a massive humanitarian operation that reached full strength in mid 2011. Although food security has begun to improve, the situation remains very fragile, particularly in southern Somalia, where conditions are considered among the worst in the world. Humanitarian needs are expected to demand sustained attention well into 2012. While life-saving assistance is the current priority, long-term responses may be needed to break the disaster cycle in the Horn. Though triggered by drought, the humanitarian emergency is complicated by political and security pressures within, between, and among the various countries in the region. The recent deterioration of security conditions along the Kenya-Somali border, security incidents within the Dadaab refugee camp complex in northeast Kenya, and increasing restrictions by Al Shabaab, an Islamist insurgency led by an Al Qaeda affiliate, on humanitarian access in Somalia all have had an impact on the relief effort.

This report provides an overview of the current status of the crisis, summary background on the region, a framework for the international and humanitarian response, and an analysis of some of the operational challenges.

The role of the 112th Congress, which has so far focused on the crisis in hearings, legislation, and congressional correspondence with the Administration, is also examined, particularly with regard to funding questions, including:

budget priorities on global humanitarian accounts and food aid;

diversion of food aid;

donor restrictions on aid; and

burdensharing and donor fatigue.

It is anticipated Congress will continue to follow and respond to events as they unfold in the Horn.

Horn of Africa Region: The Humanitarian Crisis and International Response

January 6, 2012 (R42046)



As a result of the worst drought in 60 years, regional conflicts, and conflict within states, a humanitarian emergency of massive proportion has unfolded over the past year in the Horn of Africa region. Current estimates suggest that more than 13.3 million people are currently affected, 250,000 of whom need food assistance in the near term to avoid death. Somalia has been hardest hit so far, creating population displacement within its borders and a refugee crisis of nearly 1 million people in the region, primarily in Kenya and Ethiopia.

The international community continues to respond with a massive humanitarian operation that reached full strength in mid 2011. Although food security has begun to improve, the situation remains very fragile, particularly in southern Somalia, where conditions are considered among the worst in the world. Humanitarian needs are expected to demand sustained attention well into 2012. While life-saving assistance is the current priority, long-term responses may be needed to break the disaster cycle in the Horn. Though triggered by drought, the humanitarian emergency is complicated by political and security pressures within, between, and among the various countries in the region. The recent deterioration of security conditions along the Kenya-Somali border, security incidents within the Dadaab refugee camp complex in northeast Kenya, and increasing restrictions by Al Shabaab, an Islamist insurgency led by an Al Qaeda affiliate, on humanitarian access in Somalia all have had an impact on the relief effort.

This report provides an overview of the current status of the crisis, summary background on the region, a framework for the international and humanitarian response, and an analysis of some of the operational challenges.

The role of the 112th Congress, which has so far focused on the crisis in hearings, legislation, and congressional correspondence with the Administration, is also examined, particularly with regard to funding questions, including:

  • budget priorities on global humanitarian accounts and food aid;
  • diversion of food aid;
  • donor restrictions on aid; and
  • burdensharing and donor fatigue.

It is anticipated Congress will continue to follow and respond to events as they unfold in the Horn.

Horn of Africa Region: The Humanitarian Crisis and International Response


The Horn of Africa region, which includes Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, is facing its worst drought in 60 years.1 The situation is critical with more than 13.3 million people affected, 4 million in acute need of humanitarian assistance, and 250,000 who are thought to be in dire need of food and at risk of starvation. Conditions in Somalia have created an escalating refugee crisis, primarily in Kenya and Ethiopia. Despite considerable efforts by the United States and the international community to respond to the emergency, the needs of those affected are unlikely to be met in the coming months and may not stabilize until 2012. Key priorities include food, water and sanitation, health, and protection.

The United States is the largest bilateral donor of humanitarian assistance to the region, having provided over $650.5 million in life-saving assistance in FY2011. So far in FY2012, it has provided nearly $220 million. It is also working on long-term responses to break the disaster cycle in the Horn. The urgency and scope of the humanitarian emergency, coupled with other contributing factors, such as poor infrastructure, insecurity, and internal unrest, began to command the attention of the international community in the second half of 2011. The 112th Congress has so far focused on the crisis in hearings, legislation, and congressional correspondence with the Administration. It is anticipated Congress will continue to follow and respond to events as they unfold in the Horn.

Figure 1. Horn of Africa

Source: UNHCR, adapted by CRS.

Overview of the Crisis

Although the drought had been developing for some time in the Horn of Africa region, its effects reached crisis proportions in July 2011. On July 20, Mark Bowden, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, issued a famine declaration for two regions of southern Somalia.2 The United Nations identified three additional areas in southern Somalia in early August and another in early September.3 Also on July 20, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (UNOCHA) elevated the status of the Horn of Africa drought crisis to a major, large-scale emergency, which brought internal resources and focus to bear within UNOCHA, such as surge capacity and additional staff. During September, drought conditions persisted. The humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate and 750,000 people living in famine-affected areas were believed to be at risk of starvation.

In October, a shift in the severity of the crisis began to take place. By mid-November, three of the previously identified famine areas were declared to be at pre-famine levels.4 Improvements are believed to have been due to the provision of assistance through a massive operation undertaken by the international community, despite access constraints in Somalia. The effectiveness of the response relies on local and international partners that have had long-term widespread presence in the various areas in the region. Famine persists in three areas in Somalia – Middle Shabelle and among the internally displaced populations (IDPs) in Afgooye and Mogadishu – while other areas remain extremely fragile. The number of persons at risk of starvation has been reduced to 250,000 but an estimated 4 million Somalis remain in acute food and livelihood crisis countrywide.5 UNOCHA also reclassified the status of the drought crisis from catastrophe to emergency.

The October – December 2011 rains brought some relief to drought-affected areas in the region and enabled planting activities to take place and for cattle and livestock production. The rains also had a negative impact on populations in crisis, in some areas creating flooding and displacement, and to many already vulnerable populations, bringing risk of a rise in water-borne respiratory diseases and malaria. The rains negatively impacted relief efforts causing logistical problems for the delivery of assistance.

Deterioration of security conditions along the Kenya-Somali border, security incidents within the Dadaab refugee camp complex in northeast Kenya, increasing restrictions on humanitarian access and a ban on 16 aid agencies in Somalia by Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-linked militant Islamist insurgent coalition, continue to have an impact on the relief effort. Kenyan operations in southern Somalia and retaliation by Al Shabaab, while complicated in and of themselves, also have a huge potential impact on populations already displaced and those who will be forced to move or are displaced multiple times.

The situation in the Horn of Africa remains the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The impact of the drought, combined with conflict and insecurity, make it likely that it will continue well into 2012. Some experts say drought conditions could increase as the dry season sets in, and that the overall situation may get worse before it stabilizes. New consolidated appeals for funding reflect the ongoing severity of the situation and need for sustained attention by the international community.

Background on the Region

In recent decades, humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa have been caused not only by natural disasters, such as drought and famine, but also by violent internal political turmoil and periodic conflict between states in the region. Much of this violence has been fueled by poor governance, corruption, and economic mismanagement. Borders throughout the region remain in dispute, and small arms are available in abundance, further contributing to regional and localized insecurity. Several domestic and transnational terrorist groups currently operate in the Horn. With the exception of Kenya, the countries of the Horn rank "not free" on Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2011 survey.

All these factors add to the development challenges facing the region. The countries in the Horn are among the world's poorest, with low human development indicators. Many of their people rely largely on rain-fed subsistence farming, leaving them particularly vulnerable to drought and erratic rainfall patterns. With the exception of Djibouti, which has almost no arable land, over three-quarters of these countries' populations earn their living through agriculture or nomadic pastoralism. Parts of the region are chronically food insecure. Aid groups contend that while poor weather conditions have contributed to the scope of the current disaster, the humanitarian crisis also results from poor planning and policies that have made populations more vulnerable to drought.

In addition to providing emergency relief, the international community has responded to previous droughts by establishing early warning systems and "safety nets" to mitigate the types of impact poor climate conditions are having on the region. Without these mechanisms in place, experts say the current crisis would have been worse. And yet, rapidly rising food and fuel prices in the past year have left many families struggling to cope, and poor infrastructure and insecurity continue to limit humanitarian access in some areas.

Countries in the Horn

Somalia.6 Terrorism, piracy, human trafficking, and the famine now affecting parts of southern Somalia are symptoms of the wider instability that has plagued Somalia since the collapse of the authoritarian Siad Barre regime in 1991.7 Somalia's internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government (TFG), established in 2004, remains unable to provide security or basic social services outside the capital, Mogadishu. The TFG is the most recent product of numerous domestic and international attempts to unite Somalia's regions, clans, and sub-clans within a credible central government (see Appendix D). The TFG has struggled in recent years to reconstitute national security and law enforcement entities and expand its authority outside Mogadishu, but factional fighting between TFG-allied forces and Al Shabaab, and among clan-based militias, has continued.8 In early September 2011, the United Nations sponsored a consultative meeting in Mogadishu between the TFG and other Somali political stakeholders, who agreed on a roadmap toward a new constitution and elections in 2012. Many analysts remain skeptical that the roadmap will result in any expansion of the TFG's authority beyond Mogadishu in the near term.

In 2007 a U.N.-mandated peacekeeping force, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), commenced operations in Somalia. It has been tasked with supporting political reconciliation, providing security for the TFG, and supporting the development of the Somali security forces. (For background information, see Appendix B.) The United States provides financial and other support to AMISOM.

Kenya.9 In Kenya, a nation of more than 40 million people and an important regional ally of the United States, insufficient rains led to poor crops and dying herds in parts of the country in 2011, and rising food and fuel prices have left many unable to meet basic needs. Kenya's central highlands are among Africa's most productive agricultural areas, but pastoral communities in the arid north faced humanitarian conditions similar to those in Somalia in 2011. While the country is relatively stable compared to its neighbors, a disputed election in December 2007 sparked violence that led to over 1,300 deaths, and communal conflict in parts of the country remains common. In August 2010, Kenyans voted to approve a new constitution, and the next general elections are scheduled for 2012.

Ethiopia. One of Africa's largest countries with over 90 million people, Ethiopia has been plagued by internal unrest and frequent drought. Despite a high rate of economic growth in recent years, its per capita income is among the world's lowest. The government continues to face ethnic insurgencies in parts of the country, including the Ogaden region near the border with Somalia, which has a significant population of ethnic Somalis. The United States and the European Union declared that Ethiopia's most recent elections, held in May 2010, were generally peaceful but did not meet international standards. The United States, which has been an important player in promoting democracy and dialogue between the government and opposition groups, considers Ethiopia to be an important ally in a region marred by violence and instability. Concerns about human rights conditions and democracy nonetheless remain key issues in U.S.-Ethiopia relations.

Eritrea. After a 30-year armed struggle against Ethiopia, Eritrea gained independence in 1991. It is among the most authoritarian countries in the world, and restrictive economic policies and political repression have led many to emigrate. For most of the 1990s, the Eritrean government was considered a strategic U.S. partner in the Horn of Africa. Since the late 1990s, however, U.S. officials have expressed concern about a wide range of issues, including human rights conditions, Eritrea's role in Somalia, border disputes with Djibouti and Ethiopia, freedom of the press, and one-party rule. The country is under a U.N. arms embargo for its reported efforts to destabilize parts of the region, including Somalia, through reported support to Islamist insurgents. In July 2011, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs referred to the Eritrean government as "a repressive regime [that] fails to provide data on the humanitarian needs of its own people," and noted that this had impeded international relief efforts.10 Eritrean officials have disputed reports of a humanitarian crisis in the country, stating that "There [are] no food shortages at the present time. Last year, we had a bumper harvest. We have also built up our reserves in terms of food stocks by importing food, so we will be ready for any emergency."11

Djibouti. Djibouti is a small, arid country. It gained its independence from France in June 1977. Hassan Gouled Aptidon, Djibouti's first head of state (1977-1999), reportedly contained ethnic tensions and brought relative stability and a moderate standard of living to many Djiboutians. In the past decade, the comparatively large number of refugees from Somalia and Ethiopia has placed a major strain on limited resources. The country hosts U.S. Africa Command's Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), with over 2,500 U.S. military personnel. The presence of U.S. and French military forces in Djibouti has made an important contribution to the economy and provides employment to some Djiboutians, although over 60% of its highly urban population is unemployed. Djibouti profits from a busy international port and strong economic ties with the Arab Gulf states. Djibouti also serves as one of the two locations worldwide for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Food for Peace Program's storage facility. The main opposition parties boycotted Djibouti's most recent presidential elections, held on April 8, 2011. The United States considers Djibouti, like Kenya and Ethiopia, to be an important regional partner in counterterrorism efforts.

Current Outlook on the Humanitarian Crisis

Preliminary Numbers at a Glance

UNOCHA estimates the number of people in need of assistance across the Horn Region, including refugees, is 13.3 million. Most are considered by the humanitarian community to be extraordinarily vulnerable, and UNOCHA has said that 250,000 are at risk of death from starvation if they do not receive assistance in the next four months. The number of deaths attributed to the crisis to date is unknown but thought to be in the tens of thousands and possibly higher.12 It is expected that hundreds of people are dying every day and at least half are thought to be children. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has estimated one child is dying every six minutes in this crisis.

People Requiring Assistance by Country

(Total 13.3 million)

Kenya: 4.3 million

Ethiopia: 4.8 million

Somalia: 4.0 million

Djibouti: 200,258

(NOTE: These figures are approximate and include refugees, except recent arrivals from Sudan into Ethiopia. Figures for Eritrea are unavailable.)

Number of Displaced Somalis in the Region

(Total 2.4 million)

Somali refugees in Kenya: 520,283 (444,041 in Dadaab)

Somali refugees in Ethiopia: 183,928 (139,992 in Dollo Ado)

Somali refugees in Djibouti: 18,000

Somali refugees in Yemen: 195,000

Somali Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) (in Somalia): 1.5 million

Source: UNOCHA and UNHCR, December 2011.

Note: Somalis have also sought refuge in smaller numbers in Uganda, Eritrea, and Tanzania.

Food Situation

The drought, compounded by conflict, has led to crop failures, loss of livelihoods (especially among livestock herders), population displacement and famine in southern and central Somalia. The U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID's) Famine Early Warning System (FEWS NET) reports that rains were late and erratic in March through May 2011 and that rainfall totals were less than 30% of average in some areas and 60% below normal precipitation levels in northern Kenya and southern Somalia.

As crops failed and livestock died, food prices soared. Extraordinarily high food and fuel prices have been reported across the region. Staple food prices (from June 2010 to June 2011) rose by 240% in Somalia, 100% in Ethiopia, and 51% in Kenya. Diesel prices rose by 45% in Somalia and 30% in Kenya. Critical services such as transport, access to health facilities, food distribution, and water trucking have been affected by the increase in fuel prices. UNOCHA reports that high levels of malnutrition are widespread in northern and eastern Kenya, southern Ethiopia, and central and southern Somalia. (See food shortage map below.) Poor families are unable to purchase food or fuel, contributing to the hundreds of thousands of Somalis who have moved internally or across borders in pursuit of such resources.

Figure 2. Food Shortage Map

Source: BBC, August 2011; Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit –Somalia (FSNAU). Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, Nov-Dec 2011 Edited by CRS.

In some parts of the region, FEWS NET reports, the October-December 2011 rains are performing well and easing the shortage of pastoral resources and improving the outlook for crops. The outlook in some areas, for example, in southern and southeastern Ethiopia, is for food security to stabilize among many poor and very poor households. In Kenya, October-December rains began early and have been above normal indicating likely improvements in both pastoral conditions and crop production. Despite these improving conditions, the overall outlook for the region is for continued food insecurity persisting well into 2012, particularly in southern Somalia, with populations there not recovering until the August harvest.

FEWS NET has analyzed the food security situation into the first quarter of 2012 for Horn countries where it has a staff presence: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Djibouti.13 In Ethiopia, although seasonal improvements in rainfall are expected, above average food needs are likely to persist, especially in pastoral (livestock herding) areas. Overall FEWS NET estimates that although food needs in Ethiopia are expected to decline in 2012, about 4 million people across the country will continue to require humanitarian assistance. In Kenya, three consecutive seasons of poor rainfall in the northeast indicate that food needs will be above average in January, even if October-December rains are above normal. In Somalia, famine is expected to persist into January-February due to a combination of high food prices, limited 2011 crop production, and continued assistance gaps related to Al Shabaab access restrictions. FEWS NET concludes for Somalia that "food assistance needs in February 2012 will remain far above typical levels."

Vulnerable and Displaced Populations

In crises resulting from conflict or natural disasters, population movements often occur within the affected country or flow to countries in close proximity. The plight of the refugee is one critical element of population movement; the Internally Displaced Person (IDP) is another.14 There are several distinct groups of vulnerable populations affected by this crisis, which include IDPs in Somalia (primarily Mogadishu), newly arrived refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya (with smaller numbers elsewhere in the region); civilian populations in need of assistance (primarily south-central Somalia and also Kenya), and long-term refugees in Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp.15

Preventing secondary causes of death and illness related to acute malnutrition, including communicable diseases such as measles, cholera, and respiratory infections, and vector-borne diseases such as malaria, is critical. Humanitarian agencies remain very concerned about the health issues among vulnerable and displaced populations in Somalia and in the refugee camps. Communicable diseases spread more easily among these populations with poor sanitation conditions, limited safe drinking water, and overcrowded living conditions. The number of cases of measles and cholera is of concern. The fatality rate has been high among children. Refugees arriving at the reception centers are being closely monitored. Immunization against measles in Somalia is very low and the outbreak of this disease is also affecting IDPs in Somalia, along with other diseases such as acute watery diarrhea. With the onset of the rainy season, and in some areas where flooding has occurred as rainfall exceeded the ground's capacity for absorption, the risk of the spread of disease is also increased.

IDPs and Vulnerable Populations in Somalia

Continuing insecurity and drought have had a disproportionate impact on Somalia, a country already dealing with a protracted humanitarian emergency. Somalia's population is estimated to be approximately 9 million. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) roughly 4 million people inside Somalia are negatively impacted by continuing insecurity and drought and are in need of food, water, vaccinations and health care. Of those, three million are in conflict zones and areas difficult to reach. These figures includes nearly 1.5 million Somali IDPs. Mogadishu reportedly has over 300 IDP camps with at least 370,000 IDPs.

An Islamist insurgency led by an Al Qaeda affiliate, Al Shabaab, complicates the delivery of international aid to famine-struck areas, an issue examined in greater detail later in this report. As the effects of the drought worsened in 2011, many aid agencies, including the World Food Program (WFP), have been unable to reach populations in parts of southern Somalia due to restricted access imposed by Al Shabaab. Dire conditions have forced many to flee their in search of aid at increasingly crowded refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia and in IDP camps in and around Mogadishu. While famine conditions have decreased since the height of the crisis, the affected populations remain extremely vulnerable and a return to famine is quite possible, particularly if relief efforts are interrupted.

Assistance efforts in 2012 will focus on providing life-saving assistance to reduce mortality and prevent further displacement by assisting people where they live; protecting and restoring livelihood assets; providing a minimum package of services and strengthening the protection of vulnerable populations. The humanitarian community is developing innovative ways to try to provide assistance in hard-to-access areas.

Instability in Somalia has compounded the humanitarian situation throughout the region, as nearly one million Somali refugees and asylum seekers strain the limited resources of host communities, with 90% in bordering countries, including over 520,000 in Kenya, 195,000 in Yemen, 184,000 in Ethiopia, and 18,000 in Djibouti.16

Somali Refugees in Ethiopia and Kenya

The number of Somalis displaced by the crisis continues to change. At the end of July, Somali refugees were arriving at camps in Kenya and Ethiopia at a rate of approximately 3,300 per day (1,300 in Kenya and 2,000 in Ethiopia), many in critical condition and with children particularly susceptible to acute malnutrition. By mid-August the numbers had dropped drastically in Ethiopia for reasons that are not yet fully known. By mid-September, the number of refugees arriving in Kenya had slowed to an average 1,100 per day while in Ethiopia the number ranged from approximately 350 per day to none. In Yemen, 3,700 Somalis arrived by boat during August, which was the highest reported monthly influx to the country in 2011.17 (See map below for the location of refugee camps, transit centers, and refugee settlements.)

The Dollo Ado refugee camp (Bokolmanyo, Melkadida, Kobe Hilaweyn, and Bur Amino) is a complex located very near the border with Somalia, in the Somali area or Ogaden region of Ethiopia. It has tripled in size in 2011 and currently holds nearly 140,000 refugees.18 Kenya's Dadaab refugee complex is the largest refugee compound in the world. It has four sites – Hagadera, Dagahale, Ifo, and Cambios. Established 20 years ago, some refugee families have lived in Dadaab for two decades, and there are over 6,000 third-generation refugees whose parents have never been to their home countries. Dadaab hosts the largest number of registered Somali refugees in Kenya. Originally constructed to hold 90,000 refugees, today, with almost half a million people, Dadaab has become the country's fourth-largest population center. In recent months, new arrivals from Somalia have spontaneously settled on the outskirts of the overcrowded Dadaab camps, from where UNHCR is also attempting to assist them. Kenya's capital, Nairobi, and a second refugee complex in Kenya, Kakuma, which is located near the South Sudan border, also host tens of thousands of Somali refugees.

Rising insecurity near Dadaab, combined with a series of kidnappings along the Kenya-Somali border, led in October 2011 to the suspension of all but emergency relief efforts at the Dadaab camps. While an increased Kenyan security presence has since facilitated the resumption of some aid activities, security threats and heavy rains continue to limit aid delivery in and around the camps. Security concerns also prompted Kenya to cease the registration of new refugees. In mid-December, the Department of Refugee Affairs of the Kenyan Government, with the help of UNHCR, counted 1,324 new refugee arrivals since mid October. With 463,000 registered refugees in Dadaab, overcrowding is a problem. Relocation of some refugees to Ifo and Cambios has been suspended due to current insecurity. UNHCR and its partners are trying to find options to allow full operations – beyond life-saving assistance – to continue.

There are 3.75 million people in Kenya who have been negatively impacted by the drought and are in need of food assistance. Drought conditions in the northern, north-eastern and southern parts of the country have eased significantly following the rains bringing much needed relief to civilian populations. However, flooding caused the displacement of 80,000 people in western Kenya, Nairobi, and other areas, including parts of the Coast. As of December 28, 2011, the flood waters appeared to have subsided. The 2012 appeal for humanitarian response in Kenya will focus on two parallel tracks – one to respond to acute humanitarian needs in Kenya including drought, floods, the refugee crisis, other displacement and urban challenges; and the second, over the medium to long-term, to build resilience to emergencies within communities.

Kenya and Ethiopia have long expressed concern about the economic, security, and demographic implications of refugees crossing their borders in large numbers. They have recently called for the international community to increase its efforts to deliver aid inside Somalia to avoid a pull factor across the border. The influx of refugees has strained local resources, already scarce, and in some cases caused tensions with host communities. Reports suggest that refugees are vulnerable to sexual violence and have been targeted by criminals en route to the camps and in the areas surrounding them. Kenyan officials have been accused, in some cases, of forcibly returning refugees to Somalia, a practice that would go against a key principle of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, to which Kenya is a State Party.19

In October 2011, the Kenyan government launched a military offensive into Somalia, citing its intention to defend Kenya against terrorist threats and incursions by Al Shabaab.20 Despite some contradictory statements by Somali officials, Kenya appears to be conducting the operation with the concurrence of the TFG and African regional authorities.21 Some analysts suggest that Kenya's operation is part of an ongoing effort to create a "buffer zone" between Al Shabaab and the Kenyan border, in part to promote refugee returns. Al Shabaab has threatened to attack Kenyan targets in retaliation for its operation, and recent Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and grenade attacks against police near Dadaab may further affect aid efforts there. Humanitarian groups have also expressed concern about the humanitarian impact of the fighting in southern Somalia.22

Figure 3. Horn of Africa: Refugee Map

Source: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, August 2011, adapted by CRS.

International and U.S. Humanitarian Response

The United Nations, along with other partners, including the United States, has a strong presence in the Horn of Africa, and remains at the forefront of the current humanitarian response. All major U.N. relief agencies and international NGOs, together with dozens of smaller actors, are operating relief projects in the Horn. In Somalia, for example, between national and international staff, the humanitarian community has almost 900 people on the ground. International recovery efforts are typically complex because they require coordination among numerous different actors and international entities. In the current crisis, apart from U.N. agencies, those responding to the complex emergency include international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private voluntary organizations (PVOs), and bilateral and multilateral donors.

Selected U.N. System Efforts

Humanitarian "clusters," or sectors focused on specific relief activities, are usually established during humanitarian crises to enable the United Nations to coordinate partners, prioritize resources, and facilitate planning. In the Horn of Africa region, clusters are led by various aid agencies or specific government ministries, and most have been in place for some time in response to the slow onset of the drought crisis. In Somalia and Ethiopia, all clusters are active. For example, in Somalia, U.N.-led clusters focus on a range of typical humanitarian activities including food aid, nutrition, health, shelter, water and sanitation, agriculture/livelihood, and protection. In Ethiopia, similar activities are led by the government and also include camp management, while humanitarian aid agencies focus on early warning, early recovery, and emergency telecommunications. There are no clusters in Djibouti; instead a humanitarian focal point has been assigned by the U.N. Development Program.23 In Kenya, the clusters are the responsibility of the Kenyan government.

Although the Regional Head of Office for UNOCHA is based in Cairo, Egypt, the Horn of Africa humanitarian operation has been scaled up with the largest presence in Nairobi, Kenya, in part to gain access to Somalia. U.N. agencies have staff (international and national) in all affected countries, and humanitarian coordinators lead U.N. Country Teams in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. Reportedly, in early 2012, the United Nations is planning to return to Mogadishu.

The World Food Program (WFP) has estimated that as of September 15, 2011, more than 13 million people in the Horn are in need of food and other humanitarian assistance.24 WFP has identified 9.6 million of the drought-affected population for near-term food assistance. Currently, WFP estimates that it is feeding about 7.4 million drought-affected people in the Horn countries. Other agencies, including local NGOs, have taken responsibility, according to WFP , for delivering food in areas of southern Somalia. Despite donor support for its humanitarian relief effort in the Horn, WFP reports (as of September 15, 2011) that $250 million of a total operation estimated to cost $760 million over the next six months remains unfunded.25

In Kenya, WFP is developing programs to transition from short-term interventions to recovery activities such as food-for-assets and cash-for-assets through which WFP, working with the Kenyan Government, is helping communities to improve their ability to manage and recover from drought through investments in community and agricultural infrastructure.26 WFP reports that it is increasingly using cash assistance and will scale up cash transfers to reach nearly 500,000 people in 2012.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations organized an emergency meeting on July 25, 2011, in Rome, which included senior representatives from some of FAO's 191 member countries, other U.N. agencies, and international and non-governmental organizations. The meeting focused on the need for a "twin-track" program to avert the humanitarian crisis at hand and build long-term food security in the region. Governments of the countries affected by the crisis agreed to continue to manage their response informed by the U.N. Inter-Agency Standing Committee's (IASC's) Horn of Africa Plan of Action. FAO currently operates relief and early recovery programs in all affected countries. Project proposals for drought relief activities are included in U.N. funding appeals for these countries. FAO's response to the drought in the Horn has focused on restoring crop production capacity of farmers through the distribution of agricultural inputs (such as cereal seeds and fertilizer) and technical assistance in soil and water conservation.

Other donor coordination initiatives include an emergency summit held August 17, 2011, in Istanbul, Turkey, by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which pledged $350 million in aid to Somalia; and a donor conference sponsored by the African Union held on August 25 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that raised $350 million, $300 million of which was from the Africa Development Bank. A donor conference to be hosted by the Gulf States is still to be confirmed. On the margins of the general debate of the 66th session of the U.N. General Assembly, UNOCHA organized a Ministerial Mini-Summit on the Humanitarian Response in the Horn of Africa on September 24, 2011, "to raise awareness of the scale and urgency of the humanitarian situation." The Mini-Summit resulted in new pledges of humanitarian aid totaling more than $218 million.27

Challenges of Access and Aid Delivery to Somalia

Somalia presents humanitarian aid organizations with a complex set of challenges, both in terms of poor infrastructure and insecurity. The country's infrastructure has been badly damaged by years of conflict. Roads are poorly maintained, and Somalia has few ports that can handle large cargo vessels.28 Coordination and oversight of aid is also a challenge; many countries, including the United States, consider Somalia too dangerous to maintain a diplomatic presence, and the TFG's capacity to coordinate relief efforts is limited, even within Mogadishu.

South-central Somalia is considered one of the most hostile environments in the world for aid workers. Al Shabaab has obstructed the delivery of humanitarian assistance and directly threatened aid agencies. It targets members of the TFG and AMISOM through guerrilla-style attacks and suicide bombings, but also conducts attacks against civilians, such as a deadly suicide bombing on October 4 that killed more than 100 people in Mogadishu.29 In the absence of a functioning central authority to enforce the rule of law, aid convoys traveling by road face militia checkpoints and are subject to ad hoc "taxation," extortion, diversion of aid, and banditry, all of which have become increasingly frequent impediments to aid delivery since 2008.30 Aircraft using the country's airports and landing strips have on occasion been vulnerable to attack.31 Landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) add to the dangers facing aid workers.

The increasingly difficult security situation drove many international aid groups out of Al Shabaab-controlled areas by late 2009. WFP, which Al Shabaab had accused of undermining Somali farmers by importing food, suspended operations in the south in January 2010 amid growing threats and intimidation, and Al Shabaab issued an official statement banning WFP from areas under its control the following month.32 On July 5, 2011, facing a mounting humanitarian crisis, Al Shabaab publicly requested international assistance for previously inaccessible southern Somalia.33 The group's spokesperson, however, later announced that aid agencies that had been previously banned, like WFP, had "hidden agendas" and were not welcome. He also accused the United Nations of exaggerating the severity of the drought and politicizing the crisis.34

Since July, WFP has scaled up assistance in Somalia and has begun to open new routes by land and air to serve famine-stricken areas, although it remains restricted from operating in Al Shabaab territory. WFP began food aid airlifts to Mogadishu in late July,35 and reports suggest that it has opened up a new logistics corridor to transport food supplies from Somaliland, through Ethiopia, to the Ethiopian border town of Dollo Ado. From there, food supplies can be transported across the border to people in accessible areas of southern Somalia.36

Other relief organizations have been able to continue operations in Al Shabaab-controlled areas, including multiple Islamic aid organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which operates through the Somali Red Crescent Society. Given the restricted access of WFP and other relief agencies, ICRC has significantly increased its delivery of food aid, feeding an additional 1.1 million southern Somalis affected by drought and conflict. Other international aid groups assert that they have been able to continue operations through local partners, "if those delivering the aid are accepted by the local communities and if the aid is not linked to political or military agendas."37 The United States and other donors have also increasingly provided support for cash-for-work and voucher programs in areas where access is limited.

Reports suggest that increased efforts to reach affected populations in southern Somalia with food aid, combined with a drop in food prices, have been effective in reducing famine conditions, but relief agencies have expressed concern that new Al Shabaab restrictions could negatively affect this trend.38 On November 28, Al Shabaab announced that it had banned 16 U.N. agencies and international NGOs, accusing them of advocating secularism and demonstrating a lack of neutrality.39 U.N. agencies are assessing the impact of the ban on relief efforts across the south, but broadly suggest that it may seriously impact life-saving operations in Al Shabaab areas.40


U.N. Funding Appeals

The bulk of donor funding being provided in response to the Horn of Africa crisis comes from financial contributions or relief supplies to U.N. appeals. At the end of 2010, the United Nations issued consolidated appeals for emergency financial assistance through its country teams in Somalia, Kenya, and Djibouti. Other funding mechanisms were created for Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa in general. These appeals were revised and updated and by year's end totaled more than $2.42 billion to support emergency food aid, health, water, sanitation, shelter, and other key needs, including early recovery efforts. As of January 5, 2012, $2.1 billion in commitments and contributions to the appeals had been received (which amounts to approximately 79% of all the appeals). Details on these appeals are included in charts in Appendix C along with a list of the top 30 donors responding to the crisis. In addition, in 2011 the U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) released $128.2 million to meet immediate humanitarian needs in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.41

Appeals are usually for one year and are supposed to state what is required in that time period. The unmet requirements or shortfall do not "zero out" at the end of the year. In December 2011, consolidated appeals for 2012 were launched for Somalia, Kenya, and Djibouti. The Somalia 2012 Consolidated Appeal includes 350 projects from 148 organizations and requires $1.5 billion to respond to the most urgent life-saving needs of 4 million people. The 2012 Kenya Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan (EHRP) appeal seeks $764 million to address humanitarian needs and build resilience to disasters. The 2012 Djibouti Consolidated Appeal seeks $79.1 million. As a key focus of emergency humanitarian activities, it identifies both rural and urban vulnerable households and refugees affected by the drought and its impact. A funding appeal has not yet been finalized by humanitarian partners with the Government of Ethiopia, but is expected to be completed in late January 2012. It is unclear whether there will also be a general Horn of Africa emergency appeal in 2012.

Other Pledges and Contributions

Additional bilateral and other contributions and pledges have also been made outside these U.N. appeals through direct bilateral assistance to governments, international organizations, and NGOs. As of January 5, 2012, non-appeal committed funding totaled just over $928 million.42 In addition, funding pledges – in the form of uncommitted appeal pledges ($63.74 million) and non-appeal pledges ($666.89) – have also been forthcoming. Traditional donors, including the United States, and United Kingdom, and non-traditional donors, such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and its members, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, have responded to the crisis.

While funding provided for the humanitarian crisis is made up of both appeal and non-appeal based contributions, a finalized up-to-date record of all international contributions is not available—in part because some assistance is not reported to governments or coordinating agencies, and in part because of the delay in their recording. Furthermore, in-kind contributions (versus cash) can be difficult to value. This task is typically left to the donor country or organization which can lead to delays, differing standards, and lack of consistency across sectors.

Although aid agencies fault Al Shabaab for the non-permissive environment in southern Somalia, some observers have also criticized Western donors for initially not providing adequate resources for the humanitarian response in Somalia. Many experts would agree the funding situation in the near term improved, but concerns remain about sustaining support through the crisis, which is expected to last well into 2012.43 The U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, whose mandate includes reporting on the obstruction of humanitarian assistance to Somalia, stated in a June 2011 report that, in addition to threats from elements of Al Shabaab, which it characterized as the "single greatest obstacle to humanitarian access in Somalia,"

Exogenous factors contributing to this harsh environment included a substantial overall decrease in international funding, and donor Government regulations restricting operations and access.... Besides restrictions imposed by Al-Shabaab, most organizations and agencies said that the greatest impediment to humanitarian assistance in Somalia was and continued to be inadequate funding.44

The Monitoring Group noted that there was a "substantial overall decrease" in international funding for humanitarian assistance to Somalia in 2010.

While total amounts contributed by private citizens are not available, they are thought to be low compared to other crises, and initiatives to raise awareness about the crisis and fundraising campaigns are ongoing.45 In an effort to create broader engagement by the American public in September 2011, USAID launched the Famine, War, Drought (FWD) relief campaign in coordination with the Ad Council. The U.S. government is working with NGOs, the United Nations, and diaspora communities to bring attention to the enormity and severity of the crisis while seeking to increase private donations.46

U.S. Humanitarian Efforts

The U.S. State Department has said that it is focusing not only on a response to address short-term needs and save lives, but also to build capacity to reduce the cycles of famine and failure that occur repeatedly in the Horn region. In the past year, in coordination with the international community, the U.S. government has worked to preposition food stocks in the region, increase funding for early warning systems, and strengthen assistance in other sectors, such as health, water, and sanitation. On July 6, 2011, through its Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), USAID activated a regional Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in Nairobi, Kenya, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It also set up an interagency task force to coordinate and facilitate the humanitarian response to the drought crisis through the Washington, DC-based Response Management Team (RMT). In addition, the U.S. government reissued or renewed a number of U.S. disaster declarations in countries in the Horn in response to the ongoing complex emergencies.

The United States is the largest bilateral donor of emergency assistance to the eastern Horn of Africa. As of December 22, 2011, USAID reported that the United States had provided $650.5 million of humanitarian assistance in FY2011, of which $435.2 million (67%) was emergency food aid.47 Thus far in FY2012, USAID estimates that total humanitarian assistance to the Horn amounts to nearly $220 million of which $194 million is for food aid.48 Those funds financed the provision of 492,530 metric tons of food in FY2011 distributed by WFP throughout the region and by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Ethiopia. In FY2012, 144,880 metric tons of food have so far been distributed. U.S. food aid has been made available primarily through Food for Peace Title II (Emergency Assistance) or from International Disaster Assistance (IDA)-funded Emergency Food Assistance for Drought-Affected Areas.

In the longer term, the United States is focusing its aid on helping countries in the Horn build safety net programs and develop their agricultural sectors. For example, Ethiopia's Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) provides food and cash to an estimated 7.5 million Ethiopians in exchange for work building community assets such as roads, schools, and clinics. The main U.S. input into this multi-donor financed project is commodity food aid provided as Food for Peace Act Title II nonemergency food aid.49 USAID's Feed the Future (FtF) program, initiated in 2009 as a major foreign aid initiative, is developing approaches to agriculture in the Horn that address hunger and food insecurity.50 In Kenya, for example, the United States is assisting in a multi-year agricultural development program under FtF that aims to support Kenyan investment in staple food value chain development, including livestock and livestock products; rural finance; policy analysis, advocacy, and capacity-building; agricultural research and technology transfer; and water and sanitation.51

Restrictions on Aid

A number of experts and policymakers are concerned that, on the one hand, existing donor restrictions, including U.S. sanctions, may be impacting the effective delivery of aid in Somalia and the recipients for whom the aid is intended. On the other hand, donors are also worried that aid delivered to the region may benefit Al Shabaab, which is classified by the U.S. government as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), included in the United States' Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) list under authorities enacted in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks, and identified by both the United States and the United Nations as an entity contributing to the conflict in Somalia (Executive Order 13536 and U.N. Security Council resolution 1844 (2008)). Al Shabaab reportedly earns significant revenues from taxation in southern Somalia, and it has not considered aid agencies exempt from its revenue generating efforts. The group has reportedly demanded registration fees and extorted bribes from aid groups, stolen aid shipments, and, in some cases, benefited from the transport contracts of international aid organizations. Aid agencies have expressed concern that they may be exposed to prosecution in the United States if they deliver aid in Al Shabaab-controlled areas, as the capture or use of humanitarian aid by Al Shabaab could potentially violate the U.S. government's "strict liability" standard against providing material support to terrorists.52 The U.N. Monitoring Group notes these concerns in its June 2011 report.

In 2009, questions were raised within the U.S. government as to whether, under its Somalia sanctions regulations, a license was required for the State Department and USAID to undertake humanitarian, development, and peacekeeping assistance programs authorized by the Secretary of State in Somalia. After receiving input on this question from the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), USAID subsequently directed its contractors and grantees to perform "enhanced due diligence" to avoid violating existing U.S. sanctions. In response to the USAID directives, several USAID grantees operating in southern Somalia expressed concern that requirements to report violations, unintentional or otherwise, by staff and sub-grantees, to the U.S. government could open them to U.S. prosecution.

USAID funding for NGOs to deliver humanitarian aid in south-central Somalia stalled during this period. In addition, according to USAID, NGOs conducting activities with U.S. funding in northern Somalia were specifically precluded through their grant provisions from carrying out activities in Al Shabaab-controlled areas of southern Somalia. USAID implementing partners report that grant processing for new programs, even in northern and central Somalia, was suspended for nearly eight months of FY2011, in spite of warnings about the pending crisis. Some Members of Congress have sought clarification of the sanctions-licensing issue as well as the Administration's policy decisions about the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Somalia as a whole.53 In August 2011, the Obama Administration eased some of the restrictions impacting aid delivery.54

U.N. Sanctions


Beginning in 2008, the U.N. Security Council has targeted individuals and entities who engage in or support "acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia;" violate the arms embargo; or obstruct the delivery of, access to, or distribution of humanitarian assistance in Somalia (S/RES/1844 (2008), November 20, 2008). Member states are required to block entry into or transit through their jurisdictions of designees (paras. 1, 2), and freeze the funds, financial assets, and economic resources in their jurisdictions of designated individuals and entities (paras. 3, 4). Al Shabaab and several of its top leaders are among those designated. In March 2010, the Security Council authorized member states to make available for one year funds, assets, or other economic resources that would be subject to blocking under the 2008 resolution, "to ensure the timely delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Somalia, by the United Nations, its specialized agencies or programmes, humanitarian organizations having observer status with the United Nations General Assembly that provide humanitarian assistance, or their implementing partners" (S/RES/1916 (2010), March 19, 2010). The resolution also required the U.N. Humanitarian Aid Coordinator for Somalia to report quarterly on both the implementation of this humanitarian exemption and impediments to delivery of humanitarian assistance. A year later, the Security Council extended the exemption to meet the humanitarian crisis and related reporting, now to be filed by the Emergency Relief Coordinator, for another 16 months (S/RES/1972 (2011, March 17, 2011), through mid-July 2012. Most recently, to condemn the obstruction of humanitarian aid delivery and attacks on humanitarian workers by armed groups as the famine conditions worsen, the Security Council expanded the terms of the 2008 embargo to target individuals and entities whose actions threaten the peace, security, or stability of Somalia, violate the arms embargo, obstruct humanitarian aid delivery, recruit child soldiers, or target civilians for violence, abduction, or displacement (S/RES/2002 (2011), July 29, 2011). The latest resolution, however, also reinforces the authority of member states to provide humanitarian assistance through July 2012.


In seeking an end to the border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia that broke out in the late 1990s, the U.N. Security Council urged member states to end voluntarily the sale of arms and munitions to those countries (S/RES/1227 (1999), February 10, 1999). It later made mandatory an embargo on arms and related materiel (S/RES/1298 (2000), May 17, 2000) but terminated the embargo a year later, citing the signing of a peace agreement between the two states (S/PRST/2001/14, May 15, 2001).

Eritrea, however, once again is subject to a Security Council-ordered arms embargo for its border conflict with Djibouti, efforts to undermine peace and reconciliation in Somalia, and failure to comply with the arms embargo imposed on Somalia (S/RES/1907 (2009), December 23, 2009). In December 2011, the Security Council condemned Eritrea's "continued support to armed opposition groups, including Al-Shabaab, engaged in undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia and the region" (S/RES/2023 (2011), December 5, 2011, para. 1). The Security Council further demanded that Eritrea cease all efforts to destabilize the region (para. 7), including taxing its diaspora by means of "extortion, threats of violence, fraud and other illicit means" (paras. 10, 11), or exploitation of its mining sector (paras. 12, 13) to finance forces seeking to destabilize the region. Lastly, the Security Council expressed "its intention to apply targeted sanctions against individuals and entities" found to be in violation of standards stated in earlier Security Council actions, including threatening the peace, violating the arms embargoes, obstructing delivery of humanitarian assistance, recruiting child soldiers, and committing violence against civilian populations (para. 9). The Secretary-General is required to report on Eritrea's activities within six months (para. 19), which could set the course for more punitive U.N. measures.

Issues for Congress

Budget Priorities: Global Humanitarian Accounts

Humanitarian assistance generally receives strong bipartisan congressional support and the United States is typically a leader and major contributor to relief efforts in humanitarian disasters.55 When disasters require immediate emergency relief, the Administration may fund pledges by depleting its disaster accounts intended for worldwide use throughout a fiscal year. That aid is drawn from existing funds. The international community is also making substantial donations toward meeting immediate needs.

Amid efforts to tackle rising budget deficits by, among other measures, slowing or reducing discretionary spending, finding the resources to sustain U.S. aid pledges may be difficult. For example, after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami disaster, some Members of Congress publicly expressed concern that funding for tsunami relief and reconstruction, which depleted most worldwide disaster contingency accounts, could jeopardize resources for subsequent international disasters or for other aid priorities from which tsunami emergency aid had been transferred. These accounts were fully restored through supplemental appropriations. At the time, others noted the substantial size of American private donations for tsunami victims and argued that because of other budget pressures, the United States government did not need to transfer additional aid beyond what was already pledged. In Haiti, disaster accounts were drawn down to provide relief following the earthquake in 2010. The relief funding in the FY2010 supplemental request reimbursed funding provided or obligated. If global humanitarian accounts are not replenished following a humanitarian crisis or disaster, U.S. capacity to respond to other emergencies could be impacted. Congress may reevaluate and revise priorities and approaches of U.S. assistance to the Horn of Africa.

Budget Priorities: Food Aid

U.S. international relief and development agencies and hunger advocacy groups have raised concerns about cuts in funds for international food aid in the FY2011 continuing resolution (CR, P.L. 112-10), and in the House-passed FY2012 agriculture appropriations bill.56 While not disputing the case for long-term deficit reduction, these groups argue that "protecting spending on the most vulnerable is the right thing to do." The FY2011 CR reduced international food aid by over 18% (measuring the FY2011 appropriations against the FY2010 enacted food aid total). H.R. 2112 (P.L. 112-55), the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012, provides U.S. food aid funding of $1.466 billion in FY2012, $31 million less than enacted for FY2011, but $224 million less than requested by the Administration.57 H.R. 2055 (P.L. 112-74), which contains State and Foreign Operations appropriations for FY2012, appropriates $5.520 billion for development assistance which is $30 million greater than the FY2011 enacted, but $398 million less than the Administration's request.58 The Senate report called for $1.3 billion of DA and other accounts in the foreign operations appropriation bill to be allocated to the Feed the Future Initiative. International Disaster and Famine Assistance (IDA) appropriations were increased by over $100 million in the FY2112 Foreign Operations appropriations act. A portion of IDA funds are used to provide cash and voucher based food security assistance as a complement to commodity food aid funded in agriculture appropriations.

Diversion of Food Aid

In March 2010, the U.N. Sanctions Monitoring Group on Somalia suggested that internal WFP contracting procedures "create an environment conducive to large-scale diversion of food aid and warrant further, independent investigation."59 The Monitoring Group subsequently reported in July 2011 that WFP has since taken steps to improve accountability and transparency in its food distribution, especially in Mogadishu. Responding to more recent press reports that food aid was being diverted from essential feeding operations and being sold in local markets in Mogadishu, WFP announced that it is investigating instances of diversion and that it has been taking steps to ensure "that food assistance is carefully tracked and accountability is strengthened."60 The scale of diversion has not been ascertained, although there have been reported allegations that "a massive amount of food aid is being stolen."61 One U.S. organization has called for congressional hearings to look into the issue of aid theft and efforts to prevent it.62

Restrictions on U.S. Aid

On July 29, 2011, the Obama Administration issued new guidance to provide greater flexibility in U.S. sanctions to ensure that aid groups implementing U.S.-funded programs in Al Shabaab-controlled areas of Somalia are not in conflict with U.S. laws and regulations. To date, the new guidance applies only to State and USAID-funded programs. The Treasury Department has declined to extend a general license exempting humanitarian operations in Al Shabaab-controlled areas of Somalia from the existing sanctions regime, and instead have offered to consider applications for specific licenses by aid organizations. The NGO community has welcomed initial efforts to ease the legal restrictions on U.S-funded programs, but has expressed concern that aid groups might still be open to penalties under U.S. sanctions if they were inadvertently to provide some benefit to Al Shabaab while delivering aid from other funding sources (e.g., the European Union or private charitable contributions), even if that funding was provided through the U.N. Consolidated Appeals Process.63 Administration officials have stressed that NGOs subject to U.S. jurisdiction that are not operating under U.S. government grants or contracts must ensure that their programs are consistent with U.S. legal requirements restricting transactions with Al Shabaab in the course of providing aid in Somalia. The U.S. NGO community has argued that some transactions, such as the payment of registration or checkpoint fees or taxes on local staff or partners, may be unavoidable and that the current legal and licensing framework does not give sufficient authorization or assurances to groups seeking to deliver aid in Al Shabaab-controlled areas.64 One policy analyst recently argued that the crisis presents a "fresh opportunity" to incorporate humanitarian concerns into the terrorist designation process and into the licensing of relief efforts in areas where designated terrorist groups are active.65

Burdensharing and Donor Fatigue

The drought in the Horn of Africa has received worldwide attention from governments, particularly in the last few months, but the focus by the general public appears to have been intermittent. The governments in the region, the United States, the United Nations, and many others have asked for and encouraged donor contributions. It is not always evident whether figures listing donor amounts represent pledges of support or more specific obligations.66 Pledges made by governments do not necessarily result in actual contributions. It also cannot be assumed that the funds committed to relief actually represent new contributions, since the money may previously have been allocated elsewhere. It will take time for a more complete picture to reveal how the actual costs of the crisis in the Horn will be shared among international donors. Comparing USG and international aid is also difficult because of the often dramatically different forms the assistance takes (in-kind contributions vs. cash, for instance). Moreover, as the situation stabilizes, and early recovery efforts get underway in 2012, sustaining donor interest (and commitment to honor existing pledges) could be a challenge. This task is only compounded by the need to maintain funding priorities and secure funds needed for other disaster areas worldwide amid an uncertain global economy.

Looking Ahead

The drought currently plaguing the Horn of Africa region has triggered what is considered the worst international humanitarian crises in the world. Funding has so far been forthcoming to address critical needs in the near term. Sustaining the humanitarian effort through to the end of this crisis remains a huge concern. The United States is the largest single bilateral donor to meet this emergency at a time when it faces its own substantial budgetary pressures.

No one can predict the weather, so no one can state with any certainty when the drought-driven factors of the crisis will end. The humanitarian crisis is not caused solely by natural disaster, however. Internal conflicts and conflicts between and among states are major contributing factors. Delivering humanitarian food, medicine, and fuel is never easy or unfettered. The Horn of Africa region offers up its own unique set of challenges. Areas of Somalia, in particular, stand out for their complicating factors. How to effectively and efficiently deliver life-saving assistance in an environment of pirates, bandits, terrorists, poor-to-nonexistent infrastructure, and a poor-to-nonfunctioning state, is the riddle the United States and its international partners strive to solve.

Appendix A. Evolution of the Nutrition Situation in Somalia—January to August 2011

Figure A-1. Map of Somalia

Source: Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), adapted by CRS.

Figure A-2.

Source: UNOCHA, Horn of Africa: Humanitarian Snapshot, December 16, 2011.

Appendix B. African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)

The current mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is outlined in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1772 (2007), adopted August 20, 2007, as follows:

  • (1) to support dialogue and reconciliation in Somalia by assisting with the free movement, safe passage, and protection of those involved in the political dialogue;
  • (2) to provide protection to the Transitional Federal Institutions to help them carry out government functions and to provide security for key infrastructure;
  • (3) to assist within its capabilities in the re-establishment and training of all-inclusive Somali security forces;
  • (4) to contribute, as requested and within its capabilities, to the creation of the necessary security conditions for the provision of humanitarian aid; and
  • (5) to protect its personnel, facilities, installations, equipment and mission, and to ensure the security and freedom of movement of its personnel.

On January 16, 2009, the Council, in Resolution 1863, expressed its "intent to establish a United Nations Peacekeeping Operation in Somalia, as a follow-on force to AMISOM." In this context, it requested the U.N. Secretary-General to "provide a United Nations logistical support package to AMISOM including equipment and services ... " On April 7, 2009, the U.N. General Assembly adopted Resolution 63/275A, Financing of Activities Arising from Security Council Resolution 1863 (2009). This Resolution established a Special [assessed] Account for the support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), including the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA) proposed by the Secretary-General to coordinate the delivery of the logistical package.

The U.N. Security Council, under Resolution 1964 (2010), authorized the mission to increase its troop size from 8,000 to 12,000. The Council most recently renewed AMISOM's mandate on September 30, 2011, unanimously adopting Resolution 2010 (2011) to extend its authorization of AMISOM until October 31, 2012.67 The resolution supported achievement of the authorized level of 12,000 troops and encouraged development of a guard force within AMISOM's mandated troop levels to provide security, escort, and protection services to personnel from the international community. It also expressed the Council's intention to review the possible need to adjust troop levels of AMISOM once the mission reaches its mandated level.

Appendix C. Funding Status of U.N. Appeals for Horn of Africa Crisis (as of January 5, 2012)

Table C-1. Funding Status for Horn of Africa Crisis

(All figures in U.S.$)


Appeal Fundinga





Updated Requirements

Funding to Date

% Funded

Unmet Requirements


Uncommitted Pledges for Appeal

Non-Appeal or Ambiguous Pledges


Non-Appeal Committed Funding

Kenya Appeal










Djibouti Drought Appeal










Somalia Consolidated Appeal Process










Ethiopia Humanitarian Requirements (July-December 2011) plus refugee requirementsb










General Funding for the Horn of Africa Crisis Committed to Agencies in the Various Appeals










Pledges and Committed Funding for Crisis Not Yet Country- or Appeal-Specific




















Ethiopia Funding Received Against January-June 2011 Requirements




















Source: U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Horn of Africa Drought Crisis Fact Sheet, January 5, 2012.


a. Funding = commitments + contributions

b. There is no formal U.N. appeal for Ethiopia. Funding requirements are presented separately as humanitarian (i.e. for Ethiopians) and refugee related requirements. Humanitarian funding in 2011 to date is divided into two 6 month periods (Jan-Jun and Jul-Dec), following the Government's appeal process.

Table C-2. Top 30 Donors to the Horn of Africa Crisis

All funds in U.S. dollars




United States of America



Private (individuals & organizations)



European Commission



United Kingdom



Carry-over (donors not specified)



Central Emergency Response Fund












Common Humanitarian Fund












Saudi Arabia (Kingdom of)



Various Donors (details not yet provided)



Allocation of unearmarked funds by UNICEF






























United Arab Emirates



UNICEF National Committee/Germany









UNICEF National Committee/France



Source: U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Funding by Donor Fact Sheet, January 5, 2012.

Notes: Includes donations to appeal and non-appeal funds for the following emergencies: Djibouti 2011, Horn of Africa Drought, Kenya 2011, Somalia 2011, and Ethiopia 2011.

Appendix D. Historical Background and U.S. Policy in the Horn of Africa

Overview and Contributing Factors to the Crises

The Horn of Africa is by far the most unstable region in Sub-Saharan Africa. This region has been marred by civil wars, internal political turmoil, inter-state wars, famine, and man-made humanitarian disasters in recent decades. The Horn has also emerged as a region that is highly vulnerable to terrorist attacks and is considered a safe haven for international terrorist groups. The humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa are not caused solely by natural disasters. Internal conflicts and conflicts between states are major contributing factors to humanitarian crises. Moreover, a range of other factors, such as high rates of poverty, unemployment, and population growth; scarce resources and economic mismanagement; and interference in the internal affairs of neighboring countries, corruption, and poor leadership also play significant roles in deteriorating conditions.

Efforts to resolve the number of conflicts in the Horn have led to important peace agreements, but these agreements have not contributed to lasting peace and stability. For example, Ethiopia and Somalia have fought major wars in recent decades. Eritrea and Ethiopia were at war in 1998-2000, in which over 100,000 people were killed and many more displaced. They remain at war, despite a peace agreement signed in 2000. Somalia is in a state of anarchy, despite a peace agreement reached in 2004 that led to the formation of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). The Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) took control of Mogadishu in June 2006. Ethiopia's intervention in December 2006 to oust the CIC and install the TFG in Mogadishu made Somalia more unstable than it was during the six months the CIC was in power.

Conflict and Famine in Somalia in the Early 1990s

In Somalia, United Nations officials and human rights groups have long considered humanitarian conditions among the worst in the world. It has been marred by factional fighting and humanitarian disasters since the collapse of the central government in 1991, when famine and lawlessness ensued, and an estimated 300,000 Somalis died of starvation during the civil war that followed. After lengthy delays, due to security concerns in 1992, the U.N. Security Council established the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM I) to facilitate humanitarian relief. The deteriorating security situation eventually left the U.N. mission unable to deliver food and supplies to those in need and led to a U.N. appeal for military support for the humanitarian operation.

The role of the United Nations and United States in Somalia entered a new stage in December 1992, when the Council, acting under Chapter VII, authorized the Secretary-General and U.N. member states, under U.S. command to "use all necessary means to establish ... a secure environment for humanitarian relief operations in Somalia." The Council provided for liaison between this operation, named the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), and UNOSOM I.

In December 1992, President George H. W. Bush ordered 25,000 U.S. troops into Somalia as part of a major coalition operation under U.S.-led UNITAF, named Operation Restore Hope by the United States. Experts believe U.S. and international intervention at the time saved many lives and averted a major humanitarian disaster. When President Bill Clinton took office in January 1993, he reduced American involvement. In March 1993, the Council expanded the size and mandate for the U.N. Operation in Somalia, designating it UNOSOM II. The United States transferred command of UNITAF to UNOSOM II; U.S. troops remained in Somalia. The deaths of 18 American soldiers in a firefight with forces of General Mohammed Farah Aideed in October 1993, along with congressional pressure, prompted the Clinton Administration to end U.S. participation in peacekeeping in Somalia. U.S. troops left Somalia in March 1994, and the UNOSOM II ended its mission in the spring of 1995.

Somalia in the Decades After the 1990s Famine

In October 2002, the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD), led by the government of Kenya, launched a peace process designed to end factional fighting in Somalia. In September 2003, the parties agreed on a Transitional National Charter (TNC). In August 2004, a 275-member Somali Transitional Parliament was inaugurated in Kenya. In October 2004, Parliament elected Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as the new president of Somalia. In June 2006, the forces of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) took control of the capital, Mogadishu. During the six-month rule by the ICU, Mogadishu became relatively peaceful, but efforts to bring peace did not lead to a major breakthrough. On December 28, 2006, Ethiopian troops captured Mogadishu with little resistance from the ICU. In 2008, fighting between insurgent groups and Ethiopian-Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces intensified, and by late 2008, the TFG had lost control of most of south-central Somalia to insurgent groups. In late December 2008, President Yusuf resigned from office and left for Yemen. In January 2009, the Somali Parliament elected the leader of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS), Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad, as president. In January 2009, Ethiopian forces completed their withdrawal from Somalia.

U.S Policy in Previous Crises in the Horn of Africa

The United States has been actively engaged in the Horn of Africa region for over 50 years. The United States and Ethiopia established diplomatic relations in 1903 and have maintained good relations, except during the military dictatorship under Mengistu Haile Mariam in the 1970s and 1980s. The United States also had relations with the Siad Barre government in Somalia, although relations were poor for most of the 1980s. In recent decades, the United States has played key roles in conflict resolution and provided significant humanitarian assistance. The United States was actively engaged in 1991 in Ethiopia after the collapse of the Mengistu regime and later in mediating the border dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia. U.S. engagement in Somalia, however, has been marginal and largely influenced by counter-terrorism concerns over the past decade, although the Obama Administration has been actively engaged in support of the TFG. Relations between Eritrea and the United States are currently poor. Relations between Ethiopia and the United States are strong, although some Members of Congress have been critical of Ethiopia's human rights record and the government's handling of the 2005 and 2010 elections.

Some Members of Congress have also actively followed issues in the Horn of Africa and traveled frequently to the region. At the height of the humanitarian crisis in Somalia in 1992, Congress held nine hearings and later passed the Horn of Africa Recovery and Food Security Act, which was the most far-reaching legislation on Africa in the 102nd Congress. In 1992, then-Senator Nancy Kassebaum argued for more active U.S. engagement in Somalia and called for the United Nations to appoint a Special Envoy. Kassebaum and Senator Paul Simon traveled to Somalia in July 1992 and upon their return recommended that the United Nations send a peacekeeping force to Somalia, with or without the consent of the warlords. The Select Committee on Hunger and the Senate and House subcommittees on Africa were very active on political, humanitarian, and human rights issues in the Horn of Africa region. Congress remains active in following events in the Horn of Africa. The House and Senate subcommittees on Africa held several hearings in the 111th Congress and passed a number of legislative proposals focused on Horn countries; the 112th Congress has held several hearings.

Appendix E. The U.S. Government Emergency Response Mechanism for International Disasters

The United States is generally a leader and major contributor to relief efforts in response to humanitarian disasters. The President has broad authority to provide emergency assistance for foreign disasters and the U.S. government provides disaster assistance through several U.S. agencies. The very nature of humanitarian disasters—the need to respond quickly in order to save lives and provide relief—has resulted in a rather unrestricted definition of what this type of assistance consists of at both a policy and an operational level. While humanitarian assistance is assumed to provide for urgent food, shelter, and medical needs, the agencies within the U.S. government providing this support typically expand or contract the definition in response to circumstances. Funds may be used for U.S. agencies to deliver services or to provide grants to international organizations (IOs), international governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private or religious voluntary organizations (PVOs). The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the U.S. government agency charged with coordinating U.S. government and private sector assistance. It also coordinates with international organizations, the governments of countries suffering disasters, and other governments.

The Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) in USAID's Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) provides immediate relief materials and personnel, many of whom are already abroad on mission. It is responsible for providing non-food humanitarian assistance and can quickly assemble Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs) to assess conditions. OFDA has wide authority to borrow funds, equipment, and personnel from other parts of USAID and other federal agencies. USAID has two other offices that administer U.S. humanitarian aid: Food For Peace (FFP) and the Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI). USAID administers emergency food aid under FFP (Title II of P.L. 480) and provides relief and development food aid that does not have to be repaid. OTI provides post-disaster transition assistance, which includes mainly short-term peace and democratization projects with some attention to humanitarian elements but not emergency relief.

Although not currently applicable to the Horn of Africa crisis, the Department of Defense (DOD) Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster and Civic Aid (OHDACA) funds three Dodd humanitarian programs: the Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP), Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) Program, and Foreign Disaster Relief and Emergency Response (FDR/ER). OHDACA provides humanitarian support to stabilize emergency situations and deals with a range of tasks including providing food, shelter and supplies, and medical evacuations. In addition the President has the authority to draw down defense equipment and direct military personnel to respond to disasters. The President may also use the Denton program to provide space-available transportation on military aircraft and ships to private donors who wish to transport humanitarian goods and equipment in response to a disaster.

Generally, OFDA provides emergency assistance for 30 to 90 days after a disaster. The same is true for Department of Defense humanitarian assistance. After the initial emergency is over, assistance is provided through other channels, such as the regular country development programs of USAID.

The State Department also administers programs for humanitarian relief with a focus on refugees and the displaced. The Emergency Refugee and Migration Account (ERMA) is a contingency fund that provides wide latitude to the President in responding to refugee emergencies. Assistance to address emergencies lasting more than a year comes out of the regular Migration and Refugee Account (MRA) through the Population, Migration and Refugees (PRM) bureau. PRM assists refugees worldwide, conflict victims, and populations of concern, often extended to include internally displaced people (IDPs). Humanitarian assistance includes a range of services from basic needs to community services.

Appendix F. Congressional Action

Legislation in the 112th Congress Focused on the Horn of Africa Crisis

H.Res. 361. This resolution commends the contributions of the U.S. government in responding to the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa region, as well as creating a 5-year program in areas of Somalia to promote stability, mitigate conflict and strengthen relations between residents and their government. The resolution also calls on the U.S. government to continue to provide resources to the region to alleviate poverty and hunger and to provide long-term development assistance. This resolution was introduced on July 20, 2011 and referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. On October 25, 2011, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights.

H.R. 2112. The House passed the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012 on June 16, 2011 and included $1,040,198,000 for Food for Peace Title II grants. S.Rept. 112-73, issued on September 7, 2011 by the Senate Committee on Appropriations, recommended an appropriation of $1,562,000,000 for the grants, and cited the famine in the Horn of Africa region, as well as an increase in the price of food and transportation, to justify the increased amount. The Senate passed the bill with the committee's recommended appropriation on November 1, 2011.

The bill, enacted as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, P.L. 112-55 on November 18, 2011, appropriated $1,466,000,000 for Food for Peace Title II grants. In the conference report 112-284, the conferees stated they were concerned about the limited amount appropriated for the Title II grants, particularly because of the famine in the Horn of Africa region. They noted this amount was $200,000,000 less than what the President had requested and was short of grants appropriations in the past few years. However, the conferees cited the constraints imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011. They plan to continue to check on conditions in Africa so they may take "whatever steps are available" if conditions change.

H.R. 2055. Conference Report 112-331, issued December 15, 2011 to accompany the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012, provided $150,000,000 for international disaster assistance so the United States may respond to "crises resulting from conflict" in such areas as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa. This bill became part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 and enacted as P.L. 112-74 on December 23, 2011. The public law includes $150,000,000 for international disaster assistance but does not specify in what countries or regions these funds will be used. Congress designated the funds to be used for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism.

Congressional Hearings

Outlook in Somalia, before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights and Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, July 7, 2011.

U.S.-Africa Defense and Security Partnership, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, July 26, 2011.

Drought and Famine in the Horn of Africa, before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on African Affairs, August 3, 2011.

USAID's Long-Term Strategy for Addressing East African Emergencies, before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights, September 8, 2011.

Appendix G. Links for Further Information about the Horn of Africa Humanitarian Crisis

U.S. Government Agencies

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)


Provides a list of non-government organizations (NGOs) that accept donations for relief efforts. Also provides information on the U.S. response to the crisis with fact sheets and maps.


Provides detailed facts and information about the crisis.

Embassy of the United States, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Horn of Africa Drought: U.S. Response: a compilation of official statements, fact sheets, and maps prepared by the U.S. government.

Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET)


U.S. Mission to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva


United Nations

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)



a service of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: http://www.irinnews.org/

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

UNICEF in Eritrea: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/eritrea.html

UNICEF in Ethiopia: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/ethiopia.html

UNICEF in Kenya: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/kenya.html

UNICEF in Somalia: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/somalia.html

UNICEF USA Fund: http://www.unicefusa.org/work/emergencies/horn-of-africa/

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees


United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)


World Food Programme


Red Cross Movement

The American Red Cross


The International Committee of the Red Cross


The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies


Other Resources

Action Against Hunger


African Development Bank


American Jewish World Service


BBC News

East Africa Hunger Crisis http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14248278



Catholic Relief Services


CHF International


Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC)


Episcopal Relief & Development


Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit – Somalia (FSNAU)


The Hunger Project




International Medical Corps


Islamic Relief USA


Lutheran World Relief


Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders)


Mercy Corps


Oxfam International


Relief International


Relief Web


Provides updated fact sheets, news, and maps issued by a variety of organizations.

Save the Children


World Bank


World Concern


World Vision


Author Contact Information

[author name scrubbed], Coordinator, Specialist in International Humanitarian Policy ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])
[author name scrubbed], Specialist in African Affairs ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])
[author name scrubbed], Senior Specialist in Agricultural Policy ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])
Lauren Ploch, Specialist in African Affairs ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])
[author name scrubbed], Specialist in Foreign Policy Legislation ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])
[author name scrubbed], Specialist in International Relations ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])
[author name scrubbed], Information Research Specialist ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])



The Horn of Africa includes Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia. Given the reach of this crisis, for the purposes of this report, Kenya is included and considered part of the Horn of Africa region. According to the World Food Program, the Greater Horn of Africa also includes Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania.


For the United Nations to officially declare a famine, three important conditions must be met. First, 20% of the population must have fewer than 2100 kilocalories of food available per day. Secondly, more than 30% of children must be acutely malnourished. And finally, 2 deaths per day in every 10,000 people—or 4 deaths per day in every 10,000 children—must be caused by lack of food.


Famine Early Warning Systems Network and the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit, "Famine Thresholds Surpassed in Three New Areas of Southern Somalia," August 3, 2011. These areas included Balcad and Cadale districts of Middle Shabelle, the Afgooye corridor IDP settlement, and the Mogadishu IDP settlement. On September 5, famine was declared in Bay region.


These regions were reclassified from "famine/humanitarian catastrophe" to "humanitarian emergency."


In addition to the impact of humanitarian aid and increased rainfall, the reduction in the number of those facing starvation from 750,000 to 250,000 may also be attributed to a refinement of the numbers following a census completed in the IDP camps.


See also, CRS Report RL33911, Somalia: Current Conditions and Prospects for a Lasting Peace, by [author name scrubbed].


For information on human trafficking in Somalia, see U.S. Department of State, "Special Cases – Somalia, "Trafficking in Persons Report 2011," June 27, 2011.


The semi-autonomous regions of Somaliland and Puntland have been comparatively stable; governing authorities in those regions and in parts of central Somalia are able to provide some social services in areas under their control.


See CRS Report RL34378, Kenya: Current Conditions and the Challenges Ahead, by [author name scrubbed].


U.S. Department of State, Special Briefing by Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson, Washington, DC, July 19, 2011.


Peter Clottey, "Eritrea Unaffected by Drought, Famine, Says Asmara Official," VOA News, July 28, 2011.


For updated information on humanitarian needs and responses by country in the Horn, see UNOCHA "Horn of Africa Crisis" situation reports at http://www.unocha.org/crisis/horn-africa-crisis.


FEWS NET country reports are available at http://v4.fews.net/Pages/default.aspx.


Defined broadly as those seeking asylum outside their country of citizenship with protection provided under international law. A direct result of internal conflict or natural disasters, the internally displaced are also seeking protection but within their state's borders. IDPs do not have the same protection as refugees under international law.


Refugees International, "Horn of Africa: Not the Time to Look Away," December 13, 2011.


Somali refugees are also in Uganda, Eritrea and Tanzania among other countries. Djibouti, Kenya, and Ethiopia host close to 160,000 other refugees in addition to those from Somalia.


U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Horn of Africa Situation Reports. Various dates.


U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Horn of Africa Situation Reports. Various dates.


"UNHCR Issues Urgent Appeal to Kenya to Halt Refoulement of Somali Refugees," UNHCR Posting, November 3, 2010; Amnesty International, From Life Without Peace to Peace Without Life: The Treatment of Somali Refugees and Asylum-Seekers in Kenya, AFR 32/015/2010, December 9, 2010. IDPs in Somalia, northern Kenya, and eastern Ethiopia do not have the same rights and protections as refugees under the Refugee Convention because they have not crossed an international border. See also, Human Rights Watch, You Don't Know Who to Blame: War Crimes in Somalia, August 2011.


Kenya has accused Al Shabaab of repeated armed incursions into Kenyan border towns, and has also accused the group of responsibility for the recent wave of kidnappings of foreign tourists and aid workers near the Somali border. Al Shabaab has denied involvement in the kidnappings, which some analysts attribute to pirate or other criminal gangs.


Letter dated October 17, 2011 from the Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations, U.N. Document S/2011/646, October 18, 2011; and Comments by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, UNPOS Press Conference, Ocrober 31, 2011.


Oxfam International, "New Fighting Risks Increasing Famine," Press Release, October 20, 2011.


"Cluster" and "focal point" are terms used by UNOCHA to denote points of coordination and staffing levels: a focal point is smaller than a cluster.


WFP, Horn of Africa Crisis, September 15, 2011, http://www.wfp.org/crisis/horn-of-africa.


WFP, ibid.


WFP, Kenya: Overview, Threqts to Food Security, viewed at http://www.wfp.org/countries/kenya.


UNOCHA, "Together, we must act to help millions suffering in the Horn of Africa now, and find sustainable ways to build resilience," Press release, September 24, 2011. New pledges were made by Norway, South Korea, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Ireland, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Luxembourg, Chile, and Hungary.


Smaller beach ports are also sometimes used for aid deliveries.


For further information on Al Shabaab obstructions of aid, see, e.g., U.N. Security Council, Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1916 (2010), U.N. Document S/2011/433, June 20, 2011; Human Rights Watch, You Don't Know Who to Blame: War Crimes in Somalia, August 2011; and UN OCHA's monthly Humanitarian Access reports at http://www.ochaonline.un.org/somalia/SituationReports.


See, e.g., UNOCHA, "OCHA Somalia – Humanitarian Access: Update 01 to 31, March 2010," March 2010, and Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation in Somalia, U.N. Document S/2008/178, March 14, 2008. Much of the international humanitarian assistance to the Horn arrives by sea, and WFP reports that the threat of piracy has made it more expensive to ship aid to Mogadishu. International naval convoys have escorted food shipments to the region since late 2008. For more information, see CRS Report R40528, Piracy off the Horn of Africa, by Lauren Ploch et al.


See U.N. Security Council, Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1916 (2010), U.N. Document S/2011/433, June 20, 2011.


Al Shabaab raided several U.N. compounds in southern Somalia in July 2009, and issued a decree banning three U.N. agencies (not including WFP) from areas under its control in the same month. On February 28, 2010, the Al Shabaab "Office for Supervising the Affairs of Foreign Agencies" (OSAFA) issued a press statement stating that it had banned all WFP operations inside Somalia.


WFP, Press Release, "Statement by WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran on Visit to Mogadishu Somalia," July 21, 2011.


"Somali Rebels Accuse U.N. of Exaggerating Drought Severity, Playing Politics," Washington Post, July 21, 2011.


UNOCHA, Horn of Africa Drought Crisis Situation Report No. 7, July 29, 2011.


WFP, Horn of Africa Crisis, August 18, 2011.


Testimony of Shannon Scribner, Humanitarian Policy Manager for Oxfam America, "Addressing the Humanitarian Emergency in East Africa," before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, September 8, 2011.


USAID, "Horn of Africa – Drought," Fact Sheet #9, Fiscal Year FY2012, December 1, 2011.


"Somalia: Al-Shabab Ban on Agencies Threatens Aid," UN IRIN, November 28, 2011. Six U.N. agencies, including UNICEF, UNHCR, and WHO; nine international NGOs; and one local NGO were banned from Al Shabaab areas.


U.N. Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Somalia "Protection Cluster Update – Bi-Weekly Report," December 2, 2011


The CERF was launched in 2006 to respond to natural disasters and humanitarian emergencies. It is managed by the U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator and head of UNOCHA. As an international, multilateral funding mechanism, the CERF aims to focus on early intervention, timely response, and increased capacity and support to underfunded crises. The funds come from voluntary contributions by member states and from the private sector. It is seen by proponents as a way to enable the United Nations to respond more efficiently, effectively, and consistently to humanitarian crises worldwide. Some maintain that U.S. support for this idea is critical to sustaining momentum for donor contributions and continued support for the disaster relief fund. See CERF, Horn of Africa Drought: CERF Support in 2011, September 12, 2011.


UNOCHA, Horn of Africa Drought Crisis Fact Sheet, January 5, 2012. See Appendix C.


"Aid Groups Criticize U.S. Response to East Africa Drought," Voice of America, July 23, 2011.


U.N. Security Council, Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1916 (2010), U.N. Document S/2011/433, p. 56, paragraph 190. June 20, 2011.


UNOCHA, IRIN News, Horn of Africa: "Thinking Outside the Traditional Funding Box," September 1, 2011.


For more information see http://www.usaid.gov/fwd.


USAID, Horn of Africa – Drought, Fact Sheet #12, Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, December 22, 2011. http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/disaster_assistance/countries/horn_of_africa/template/fs_sr/fy2012/hoa_dr_fs11_12-15-2011.pdf.


USAID, ibid..


Overseas Development Institute, Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), Ethiopia, 2006, http://www.odi.org.uk/work/projects/details.asp?id=1144&title=productive-safety-net-programme-psnp-ethiopia.


USAID, Feed the Future, http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/disaster_assistance/countries/horn_of_africa/template/fs_sr/fy2011/hoa_ce_fs08_08-18-2011.pdf.


USAID, Feed the Future, Kenya F2010 Implementation Plan, http://www.feedthefuture.gov/documents/FTF_2010_Implementation_Plan_Kenya.pdf.


"Legal Roadblocks for U.S. Famine Relief to Somalia Creating Humanitarian Crisis," Charity & Security Network, January 27, 2011; Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Tara Vassefi, "Somalia's Drought, America's Dilemma," The Atlantic, July 2011.


Testimony of Jeremy Konyndyk, Mercy Corps Director of Policy and Advocacy, at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing, "Responding to Drought and Famine in the Horn of Africa," August 3, 2011.


U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control. "Questions Regarding Private Relief Efforts in Somalia," August 4, 2011; U.S. Department of State, Daily Press Briefing, August 2, 2011.


For background information see CRS Report RL33769, International Crises and Disasters: U.S. Humanitarian Assistance, Budget Trends, and Issues for Congress, by [author name scrubbed].


InterAction, "Dear Congress: Use World Humanitarian Day to back foreign aid," news release, August 19, 2011; Bread for the World, "Lives at Stake: Protect Global Food Security Programs," Background Paper, September 2011, no. 216, at http://www.bread.org/what-we-do/resources/newsletter/sept-2011/september-2011-background-paper.pdf. Interaction is an umbrella group for 190 U.S.-based Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs); Bread for the World is a church-based organization that advocates for ending global hunger and malnutrition.


CRS monitors congressional actions on appropriations on a regular basis. See Current Issues in Focus on the CRS web page at http://www.crs.gov/Pages/clis.aspx?cliid=73&preview=False, key words agriculture appropriations and state and foreign operations appropriations.


U.S. House, Committee on Appropriations, Report 112-331 to accompany H.R. 2055, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2112, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-112hrpt331/pdf/CRPT-112hrpt331.pdf.


U.N. Security Council, Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1853 (2010), U.N. Document S/2010/91, March 10, 2010; and U.N. Security Council, Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1916 (2010), U.N. Document S/2011/433, June 20, 2011.


Associated Press, AP Exclusive: Food Aid for Starving Somalis Stolen, UN Agency Investigating, August 15, 2011, http://ca.news.yahoo.com/ap-exclusive-massive-theft-famine-aid-somalia-un-141847250.html; World Food Programme, "Statement By The World Food Programme On Humanitarian Operations Providing Food Assistance In Somalia," August 30, 2011.




Heritage Foundation, Theft of Food Aid in Somalia Should Lead to Congressional Oversight, Web Memo, September 6, 2011, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/09/Theft-of-Food-Aid-in-Somalia-Should-Lead-to-Congressional-Oversight#_ftn1.


Testimony of Wouter Schaap, CARE International Somalia Assistant Country Director, at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing, "Responding to Drought and Famine in the Horn of Africa," August 3, 2011.


CRS interviews and correspondence with NGO representatives in Washington, DC, September 2011.


Sarah Margon, Unintended Roadblocks: How U.S. Terrorism Restrictions Make it Harder to Save Lives, Center for American Progress, November 2011.


Relief Web is a good source of information, although the accuracy is not guaranteed. See http://www.reliefweb.int. Obtaining an exact up-to-date record of all international contributions in response to an ongoing disaster is often not possible—in part because some assistance is not reported to governments or coordinating agencies—and in part because of the delay in their recording.


U.N. document S/RES/2010 (2011), September 30, 2011.