By JEAN JACQUES CHARLES

Thousands of families like this one have been forced to flee their home, even moving to a neighborhing country, in search of food. PHOTO: Mohamed Amin Jibril/IRIN
Thousands of families like this one have been forced to flee their homes, even moving to a neighboring country, in search of food. PHOTO: Mohamed Amin Jibril/IRIN

The United Nations (UN) reports that more than 11 million people in the Horn of Africa need food assistance due to the region’s worst drought in 50 years. The Horn of Africa is located in the northeast part of the continent. From a satellite’s view, it resembles a pointy horn.

Nearly half of the population of Somalia is now in crisis, and parts of Kenya and Ethiopia are also affected by the famine. It is estimated that tens of thousands of people have died from malnutrition in recent months. “Children are the most affected by the crisis,” states Catherine Bragg of UN Emergency Relief Operations, “and an estimated 1.25 million children across southern Somalia are in urgent need of life-saving assistance.”

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls the current situation in Somalia a “catastrophic combination of conflict, high food prices and drought” and has appealed for immediate aid.

Kiki Gbeho, who heads the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN) in Somalia, believes there is still hope and lives can be saved in Somalia if relief efforts can get seeds planted before the next rainfall, as well as food and cash into people’s hands and health services increased throughout the region. “We can prevent the situation from deteriorating further.”