Climate and Food Crisis in East & West Africa

Amina (50) is the mother of 12 children. She arrived in the Gunagado displacement camp after the drought killed her family's cattle and an outbreak of disease endangered her family.

Amina, 50, arrived in the Gunagado displacement camp in search of food and water after the drought killed her cattle and an outbreak of disease endangered her family. Pastoralist communities in the Somali region have been suffering 4 years of erratic rains and millions of people have lost their livestock. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

The Horn, East, Central and West Africa are facing a profoundly alarming hunger crisis. More than 57 million people are facing hunger as climate extremes have caused widespread food and water shortages. Oxfam is on the ground responding but we urgently need your help to save more lives.


A combination of climate extremes, Covid-19 and conflict

A rapidly changing climate characterized by erratic rains in the Horn, East, Central Africa has prolonged a serious drought since 2021, compounding an already dire humanitarian situation caused by conflicts, COVID-19, and the worst plague of locusts in 70 years.

Many harvests have failed and millions of livestock – which pastoralist families rely upon for sustenance and livelihoods – are emaciated or dead. Over 13 million people have been displaced in search of water and pasture, while millions of others had to flee their farmlands and homes because of conflicts.

More than 44 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and South Sudan and over 28 million people are facing severe levels of hunger.

The impact of the war in Ukraine on global food systems, energy prices and the global economy could drive these numbers even higher.


“All the 40 years of my life, I have never seen anything like what is happening here in Akobo. For the past four years, it is either flood, drought, famine, violence, or COVID-19. This is just too much. I am tired of living. If it continues like this, I doubt if my girls will become full adults.”

Nyadang Martha, from Akobo in South Sudan

In West Africa, people facing hunger more than quadrupled in the past five years (from 7 million in 2015 to 29 million in 2022), an unprecedented rate in the region. Hunger is caused by conflict and insecurity forcing people to abandon their land, while pockets of drought and unequal rainfall distribution result in poor crops. Meanwhile, food prices have increased by up to 40 percent over the past five years in some countries, making it difficult for the most vulnerable people to afford the basic foodstuffs.

Millions in need of urgent help


Kenya has suffered a 70 percent drop in crop production and has declared a national disaster with 4.4 million people in acute hunger, now in need of aid. 2.4 million livestock deaths have been recorded. Women and children are the worst affected, with an increase in gender-based violence and child marriage.


Ethiopia is facing its highest level of food insecurity since 2016. In Somali region alone 3.5 million people experience critical water and food shortage. Almost a million livestock animals have died, leaving pastoralists who entirely depend on herding for survival with nothing. 9.9 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.


90% of Somalia are in severe drought conditions. The lack of access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation facilities has heightened the risks of water-borne diseases and gender-based violence. 6.7 million people (more than half of the population) are in need of humanitarian assistance. Approximately 1.8 million children (54.5 per cent of the total child population) are facing acute malnutrition (513,550 of these will likely be severely malnourished) and 250,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women are in need of food

South Sudan

Over the last five years, early seasonal rain has caused widespread flooding in the country, leading to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. Infrastructure has been demolished, affecting agricultural production and livelihoods. Over 6.6 million people are facing acute food insecurity (IPC 3+).

The Sahel

The Sahel is the epicentre of a fast-growing crisis with unprecedented levels of armed violence and insecurity compounded by frequent climatic shocks, which made cereal production decrease by 25%. Nearly five million people have abandoned their home in the region, including 1.8 million in Burkina Faso and 1 million in Chad. Heavy rainfall and floods killed 379 people and affected about 1.9 million in 2022. People lost their home, crops and animals, worsening pre-existing vulnerabilities and exacerbating humanitarian needs.

Central African Republic

Armed conflict, soaring food prices, and floods covering some agricultural plots have pushed 3.1 million people into food insecurity, representing 60% of the population in 2022.

Oxfam’s response

Oxfam and its partners are currently helping millions of people with life-saving support in Kenya, Somalia, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Niger, Central African Republic and soon in Ethiopia. We aim to reach over 2.2 million people with emergency food, clean water, sanitation, protection and rapid flexible cash assistance. We are also helping communities to be more resilient to the changing climate, working on rehabilitation programs and providing sustainable and durable solutions for the future.

Africa cannot wait. The climate-fueled hunger and drought crisis is worsening with a potential for catastrophic loss of life. The number of people at risk of extreme hunger is expected to dramatically increase in coming months especially if the next rainy season fails again.

You can stop the worst from happening by supporting Oxfam’s work providing lifesaving aid to those who need it most.