A view of Horn of Africa's drought from space
Animation from satellite images shows the increasing drought. (Courtesy CESBIO/ESA)
July 26th, 2011
12:19 PM ET

A view of Horn of Africa's drought from space

The worst drought in 60 years has hit the Horn of Africa region, an area in east Africa that includes Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

A recent satellite-derived animation from the European Space Agency illustrates the crisis as it worsened over the summer. The images above show soil moisture in the region from April to mid-July of this year. Green and blue depict higher levels of soil moisture while the increasing spread of orange and yellow illustrates areas with little to no moisture.

The drought has led to starvation and the loss of crops and livestock. Food prices have nearly tripled in some areas since last year, worsening the crisis.

The United Nations officially declared famine in parts of Somalia last week, and thousands of people have fled their homes and crossed borders in search of water, food or aid.

More on the crisis:

What caused the crisis?

U.N., donors meet on Somalia famine as aid groups seek more help

Amid famine, Somalis flock back to the war-torn city they fled

Walking 17 days for water and other personal stories from the drought

How to help:

Impact Your World

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Filed under: Africa • Famine • Kenya • Somalia • World
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Pragmatist

    With all the fertile land in Africa I still don't know why people don't leave the desolate areas and migrate to more sustainable land. Humans have always migrated for survival. I'd like the UN to stop handing out bags of grain so they can instead start teaching people how to implement better agriculture methods. It's really sad to see a starving child who's only crime is being born to parents who don't know better in an unstable region.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • TSB8C

      Perhaps all those "food aid" $'s should be used to rent u-hauls.

      July 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • What?

      Do you think that Africa is one big country? It is not possible to emigrate from these countries as there are international borders. Furthermore, most of these people don't have the financial resources available to migrate. Have you ever been to a third-world country?

      July 26, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • potato

      @what Africa is a continent not a country

      July 26, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |

      @potato I think you mean continential breakfast

      July 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry L

      In 20-30 years the US could see hordes of displaced persons leaving flood and drought-stricken areas. Will the kindly land-owners in less harsh regions take them in and allow them to settle on the land? I've worked in Africa and seen great numbers of children starving to death. It sickens me to hear comments from sophmoric morons, sitting in their air conditioned homes, on their fat asses, and allowing such drivel to run from an over-active pie hole. Maybe tragedy will someday strike their families and they'll see less humor in human misery.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Delametrius

      @Larry L

      You were probably never a fan of Sam Kinnison's "Move where the food is" stand-up routine then, huh?

      July 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      it's called karma. let all those thieving muslims rot....the pirates and their children. i, for one, don't give a rat's ass about any of them. the more that die...the better.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Looks like someone used a giant can of raid on a roach infested piece of land.

      July 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      "potato," did you really not understand what "what" said? He knows its not a country. Potato head?

      July 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Chris, you are mentally ill.

      July 26, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bri

      It's called international borders. Not so easy to cross if the other nation your trying to enter does not want you.

      July 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. There are no gods!

    European Space Agency, must be nice to live in a country that values space exploration enough to fund an agency to do it.

    July 26, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bleah

      Since when is Europe a country?

      July 26, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |

      Since Ireland is a peninsula.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • phearis

      I thought Europe became a country at the same time Africa became a country. *rolls eyes*

      July 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. concernedMe

    Easier said than done! There are borders in Africa and fear of death lurks on those borders. Migration is not possible with borders. I agree, however, about teaching more sustainable agriculture methods. Do note that the people have to rise first. They need to do something about it first instead of outside influence. Education! Education! Education!

    July 26, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |

      everyone needs to just go find the dude that needs help stashing his money from the Ivory Coast.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Barry

    It happens every 10 years or so, it is going to happen again. Too many people living in a place that no one should live

    July 26, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |

      Are you talking about your apartment building being infested with roaches?

      July 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michelle

    What the world fails to realize that what is happening there...will soon happen in other places. The need is high for people to explore other options. The US is experiencing drought in places and could soon see this on their own land. Then what would we do. We need to help these people and help them come up with some kind of solution. We are all linked together whether people want to realize it or not.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |

      Yeah right dude. Never gonna happen here. I am not linked to anyone.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • RETIOS

      wise words

      July 26, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tim

    I pray they will be ok. Those poor people are suffering.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Krissy

      Praying isn't going to help. Monetary aid, education and rain will.

      July 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nino Brown

    I am 1/2 somali and kenyan. If I hear, "why dont these people just go to a safe/fertile/better place", im going to lose it. Africa is not the UNITED States. You cant just hop from one African country to another. There are militants on the bourders of every country just waiting for someone to stick their noses across. I mean think about it, if every area has their own radical militant group slaughtering their own country men/tribe what makes you think a Congonese, Angolan, or any other rebal group would let Somalians cone and go freely without altercation to their lands? Stop posting ignorant comments on here hiding behind the blanket of freedom our country provides. Either help out or just leave these people alone 🙂

    July 26, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |

      you are almost qaulified to be an American President ! Just say the heat is from global warming and maybe you can win a nobel prize score some cash and run in 2012!!!

      July 26, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Because they're true statements. There are legal (keyword) ways of immigrating into other countries. We deal with it in the United States all of the time, both legal and illegal (Mexico).

      Get off of your soap box already. It's survival of the fittest.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shannon

      People who aren't traveled or worldly just don't get it. They can't comprehend what it's like to live in other parts of the world because all they know is America. You can't convince them into being less ignorant, they just need to broaden their own minds by seeing with their own eyes. It's sad that they think they're qualified to discuss situations like this, but you know what they say about opinions and everyone having one.

      July 26, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CSnSC

    Nino, thanks. You just prevented this blog from being polluted with more ignorant comments. @michelle, it did happen here, the dust bowl in the '30s.

    July 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |

      wrong again

      July 26, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. PrincessLaya

    Somalia is the armpit of the earth. Let it wilt.

    July 26, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |

      i think this is more of a rash

      July 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JC

    If every child has 8 kids and every kid has 8 more and so on it's a recipie for disaster. Birth control is too expensive, so we get famine. Every square inch of Africa would be covered with people if it were not for war, flood, famine, disease, and countless other situations which reduce the number of people. Read up on Thomas Malthus for more information about why African countries and other Third World nations without schools and condoms seem to lose a million people here and there without seeming to miss a beat every year or two. This stuff has to happen for nature to stay in balance.
    We here in the West, on the other hand, do it differently. We drill for oil, drive big cars and get killed by F-5 twisters.

    July 26, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • ron

      World population 1804 1 billion (wikipedia)
      World population 2011 7 billion

      Republican candidate in US As long as there is a physical space to put more humans, the world is underpopulated

      Economics are supply and demand, too many humans = individual humans economically worth less and less

      July 26, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Resident Alien

    Its not the draught that apalls me but the number of children in each family. Seriously, when the food is so limited why give birth to too many children? I'm a muslim myself and I don't understand this.

    July 26, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |

      Gotta get laid

      July 26, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      what doe being a Muslim have to do with it?

      July 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |

    your post isnt that long but looked boring. Sup JC?

    July 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • talus12

      Dirtyhorse: You are not remotely funny. Grow up and shut up.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tara

    That's what the midwest in the U.S. will look like soon if this heat keeps up. Serious. The Dust Bowl is back. It lasted 10 years before, what will it be like this time? Some of us won't be around to find out.

    July 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joshua

    Maybe the leaders of these African countries will invite the Israeli agricultural engineers to come back to their countries - having kicked them out in 1967 - and ask the Israelis to share with them the technology that has enabled Israel to grow wheat and vegetables in the Negev desert, and turn sand back into fertile soil. Or is their hatred for Jews so great that they would rather see their populations die of starvation and drought?

    July 26, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mycology

      You already know the answer to that, they would slit the throats of their own children before letting the Jews bless them with their knowledge, expertise, and generosity.

      To be indebted to a jew is worse than death, to these barbarians.

      July 26, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sticks

    I see opportunity for a McDonalds and a KFC in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya . Booyah dollar signs

    July 26, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
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