Drought in East Africa

What's Happening?

In 2011, parts of East Africa, including Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, began facing the worst drought in the region in 60 years.

At the height of the crisis, the combination of drought and conflict forced tens of thousands of refugees, mostly from Somalia, to migrate to Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya, as well as the Dollo Ado camps in Ethiopia. LWR’s partner, Lutheran World Federation/World Service Kenya (LWF), manages daily operations in three of the Dadaab camps.

New arrivals to Dadaab have slowed and the population has stabilized at approximately 444,000,a decrease since the height of the crisis when camp population reached nearly 500,000 people but still significantly above what the humanitarian agencies working in Dadaab have resources to serve.

Although recently there have been significant improvements in people’s ability to access food, an estimated 14.9 million people in East Africa remain at risk of going hungry. The recent short rains, which occur between October and December, were plentiful in some regions and deficient in others. In Kenya especially, these rains contribute to a significant portion of the annual agricultural production and the resulting February to March harvests are expected to be below average.

How is LWR Responding?

Lutheran World Relief continues its long-term response to the East Africa drought. At the height of the drought crisis, LWR partnered with ACT Alliance partners to respond in Ethiopia and local partners in Kenya.

LWR’s long-term, sustainable-development response to the drought focuses in Kenya’s Makindu region. LWR is carrying out the Watershed Approach to Enhance Resilience (WATER) project, working with 2,260 vulnerable families to:

  • Improve access to water for household use, consumption and agricultural production
  • Increase crop production and income from agriculture
  • Learn to cope with the effects of drought

(Click here to learn more about LWR’s work in Kenya.)

LWR also continues its long-time partnership with the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in the Dadaab refugee camps, working to ensure vulnerable refugees get connected to the life-sustaining services they need.


LWR will continue its long-term, sustainable development response to the East Africa drought by working with families in Kenya to improve food security, cope with the effects of drought and build sustainable agricultural livelihoods.

Please support this important work with a gift to LWR's East Africa Drought fund. LWR accepts gifts by phone at 800.597.5972, online at lwr.org/donate or by sending a check or money order to:

Lutheran World Relief
P.O. Box 17061
Baltimore, MD 21297-1061

LWR always needs donations of Quilts and Kits to meet requests around the world and respond in the face of emergencies. Learn more about assembling and donating LWR Quilts and Kits.

Your gifts will be used to respond to the East Africa Drought until needs there are met. Gifts received after that time will be used where needs are greatest. Thank you for your compassion. Please give generously.

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