East Africa is facing its worst drought in 40 years, with over 1.4 million people displaced by drought in Somalia alone. Learn more about drought, what causes it, and how we can support those most impacted.
International Rescue Committee
Around the world, droughts are becoming increasingly common due to rising global temperatures—and have serious impacts, leading to crop failures, famine and malnutrition.
East Africa, for example, is facing its worst drought in years, affecting 40 million people. Many are facing near-famine and malnutrition because of the drought’s impact on food supplies.
Learn more about drought, what causes it, and what the IRC is doing to help in East Africa.
Drought is caused by a lack of rainfall, causing serious water shortages. It can be fatal.
More specifically, drought is defined by a period of unusually dry weather caused by low rainfall and high temperatures. It is also defined in terms of the impact on agriculture when crops fail due to lack of moisture in soil, leading to food shortages and serious human impacts such as famine in severe cases.
Unlike other extreme weather events that are more sudden, like earthquakes or hurricanes, droughts happen gradually. But they can be just as deadly as other weather hazards—if not more so. Drought has affected more people in the last 40 years than any other natural disaster.
The severity of drought worsens over time. When it arrives, drought can last for weeks, months, or years—sometimes, the effects last decades.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people affected by humanitarian crises—including the climate crisis—to survive, recover and rebuild their lives.
Founded at the call of Albert Einstein in 1933, the IRC is now at work in over 40 crisis-affected countries as well as communities throughout Europe and the Americas. We deliver lasting impact by providing health care, helping children learn, and empowering individuals and communities to become self-reliant, always seeking to address the inequalities facing women and girls.
Here are highlights of our impact over a year.
In 2022, the IRC and our partners reached over 32.9 million people in countries affected by crisis. As part of this work, we:
… among other assistance provided around the world last year.
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