Around 20.2 million children are now facing the threat of severe
hunger, thirst and disease, compared to 10 million in July, as climate
change, conflict, global inflation and grain shortages devastate the
“While collective and accelerated efforts have mitigated some of the
worst impact of what had been feared, children in the Horn of Africa are
still facing the most severe drought in more than two generations,”
said UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa
Lieke van de Wiel. “Humanitarian assistance must be continued to save
lives and build the resilience of the staggering number of children and
families who are being pushed to the edge – dying from hunger and
disease and being displaced in search of food, water and pasture for
Nearly two million children across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are
currently estimated to require urgent treatment for severe acute
malnutrition, the deadliest form of hunger.
In addition, across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia:
- More than two million people are displaced internally because of drought.
- Water insecurity has more than doubled with close to 24 million people now confronting dire water shortages.
- Approximately 2.7 million children are out of school because of the
drought, with an additional estimated 4 million children at risk of
- As families are driven to the edge dealing with increased stress,
children face a range of protection risks – including child labour,
child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).
- Gender-based violence (GBV), including sexual violence,
exploitation and abuse, is also increasing due to widespread food
insecurity and displacement.
Thanks to the generous support of donors and partners, UNICEF
continues to provide life-saving services to children and families
across the Horn of Africa, while preparing for further shocks, building
resilience and strengthening key services.
In 2022, UNICEF and partners reached nearly two million children and
women with essential life-saving health care services, vaccinated
almost two million children between the ages of 6 months and 15 years
against measles, and provided safe water for more than 2.7 million
people for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene.
UNICEF’s 2023 emergency appeal of US$759 million to provide
life-saving support to children and their families will require timely
and flexible funding support, especially in the areas of education,
water and sanitation, and child protection, which were severely
underfunded during UNICEF’s 2022 response. An additional US$690 million
is required to support long-term investments to help children and their
families to recover and adapt to climate change.
“As governments and people across the world prepare to welcome a New
Year, we urge the international community to commit to responding now
for what might hit the Horn of Africa next year, and in the years to
come,” says Lieke van de Wiel. “We need a global effort to mobilize
resources urgently to reduce further devastating and irreversible damage
to children in the Horn of Africa. We must act now to save children’s
lives, preserve their dignity and protect their futures.”