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Horn of Africa drought - Plan's impact, one year on

In July 2011 the Horn of Africa was hit by one of the worst droughts in decades with an estimated 12.4 million people reported to be in urgent need of food.

Since then, Plan International has been working in Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan to help those affected. One year on, our emergency response interventions have reached nearly 1.2 million people, mostly children.


A baby being checked for malnutrition at a health centre in Ethiopia.

Since we began our response work back in July 2011, Plan’s humanitarian interventions in Ethiopia has reached almost 300,000 people in 14 districts across the country.

Our emergency feeding programme and on-going medical support has helped over 30,000 children, pregnant women and new mothers suffering from acute malnutrition. We have also been implementing roof-water catching systems, and providing training on hygiene and sanitation to help make sure that drinking water is available and safe.

Further to this, Plan’s efforts to replenish livestock mean that thousands more families are now able to earn an income and better provide for their children.


Delivering maize meal to schools in Machakos in eastern Kenya.

The arid districts in the north, eastern and coastal strip of the country were some of the hardest hit by the drought. Plan’s intervention has now reached over 650,000 of those affected.

By supporting schools to provide children with nutritious lunches, Plan has been giving hundreds of thousands of young people the food and water they need to stay healthy and to concentrate properly in class.  Similarly, we are helping to make sure health centres are able to provide for their patients, and raising awareness of the benefits of hand-washing, water purification and good nutrition.

Plan is also working to ensure that young people are safe and has, so far, delivered a total of 180 sessions on child protection in emergencies to help keep children from harm.

South Sudan

Children being served with lunch in East Equatoria South Sudan school feeding  programme.

In Jonglei, Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Northern Bahr El Ghazal states of South Sudan, Plan’s emergency response has reached around 250,000 people providing emergency food relief.

We have been building wells to increase families’ access to clean water and have supported 41 communities to set water management committees to make sure everyone in the community can benefit.

By providing 40,000 pupils with healthy school meals, and by training parent and teacher associations on child abuse and gender-based violence, Plan has been working to safeguard the overall well-being of young people in South Sudan.

Rebuilding communities

Plan is now focusing on long-term projects to support families in East Africa to rebuild their lives and livelihoods. By supporting sustainable food and water assistance, health and sanitation, child protection training and education, Plan will continue working with the affected communities on the road to recovery and to better prepare communities to face possible drought situations in the future.

Download the Horn of Africa Drought 'One year Report'

Find out more about Plan's work in Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan

See related stories about the East Africa Drought