Starvation and Health Disease: Humanitarian Emergency in the Horn of Africa

Starvation and Health Disease: Humanitarian Emergency in the Horn of Africa
Photo by Oleksandr Sushko from Unsplash


Beatrice Serra 

International Justice and Human Rights Researcher 

Global Human Rights Defence

On August 17th, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – the Director-General of the WHO – raised major concern on the challenges the Horn of Africa is facing. He pointed out how “Drought, conflict, climate change and increasing prices for food, fuel and fertiliser are all contributing to lack of access to sufficient food” which threaten the health of thousands of lives. (WHO, 2022; UN News, 2022).

The countries mainly affected by starvation and health disease are Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. The Director-General has also devoted particular attention to the situation in Tigray, that despite being one of the current biggest humanitarian crises, it is not receiving enough attention and efforts: “I can tell you that the humanitarian crisis in Tigray is more than (in) Ukraine, without any exaggeration.  And I said it many months ago, maybe the reason is the colour of the skin of the people in Tigray”, he said. (WHO, 2022; UN News, 2022).

The $16 million from the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies are not sufficient to fight the challenge. That is why WHO is appealing for the 123.7 million dollars “to prevent and control outbreaks, to treat malnutrition and to provide essential health services and medicines” (WHO, 2022) 


Sources and Further Readings 

United Nations (August 17, 2022), WHO warns of disease threat amid Horn of Africa drought, UN News, retrieved on Augusts 18th, 2022, from

World Health Organization (August 17, 2022),WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the COVID-19 media briefing – 17 August 2022, WHO, retrieved on August 18th, 2022, from