Famine in East Africa 2011

The disastrous drought in East Africa in 2011 was the worst for 60 years. Here you can read how your donation helped the people of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Worst drought in 60 years

In 2011, terrible pictures reached us from East Africa: malnourished children, animals dying of hunger and thirst, and many people forced to flee because of conflict and the lack of food and water.

The population of the Horn of Africa, in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya in particular, was experiencing the worst drought for 60 years.

Some 13 million people were affected by the crisis. To survive, they needed food, water, medical care and a roof over their heads.

Our partner relief organizations continued to provide this aid even as they repeatedly faced security problems and obstacles to their work in war-torn Somalia.

Women and children in Ethiopia receive food aid.

Your donation makes a difference. Thanks to your support, the people in the Horn of Africa received drinking water, food, mosquito nets and feed for their animals.

A woman holds her child as it is treated for undernourishment in a hospital in Ethiopia.

Survival help

The first phase of our relief effort concentrated very clearly on emergency survival help. Our partner relief organizations distributed food, water, personal hygiene items and mosquito nets.

Malnourished children were given special high-energy food, and the sick and weak received medical attention.

Protecting against further disasters

In the second phase, we focused on giving the victims better protection against future droughts and disasters.

For example, our partner relief organizations not only distributed water, but also built wells and other systems to extract and store drinking water.

This was done for humans and livestock alike. They also distributed seed which is particularly resistant to drought, and showed the local people alternative forms of agriculture that would bring them better harvests.

A woman in Ethiopia tends her crops, her child on her back.

"I hope to earn a little more money and give my children a better future. I want them to gain qualifications, and to train for a job that provides a living."
Mogess Yalev, farmer in Ethiopia. Thanks to assistance from Helvetas and Swiss Solidarity, he has been able to increase his yields significantly

How your donation helps

Our partner relief organizations carry out projects which are tailored precisely to the needs of their beneficiaries:

  • They distribute water and ensure access to clean water by building or repairing water systems
  • They treat malnourished children
  • They treat the sick and injured
  • They distribute food, mosquito nets, cooking utensils and everything else needed to survive
  • They provide provisional accommodation to those who have been forced to flee their homes
  • They distribute animal feed
  • They protect vulnerable people from abuse in the camps
  • They help displaced persons to return to their homes
  • They help to find alternative sources of income

A girl in Ethiopia fills her canister with water.


Famine aid for East Africa, 2011, in figures

  • Donations to date:

    CHF 28,184,912

  • Number of projects:


  • Countries:

    Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia

Our partner organizations operating locally

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