The biggest emergency I have ever seen
A newly arrived Somali refugee waits in a registration center in the Dadaab refugee camp on July 10,2011 in northeastern Kenya. Thousands of Somalis have fled into neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia in recent weeks and many have died of starvation while fleeing due to one of the region's worst drought in decades. The over-crowded Dadaab refugee camp was built for 90,000, but is now home to over 380,000 Somali refugees.
July 14th, 2011
01:44 PM ET

The biggest emergency I have ever seen

Editor's Note: Elhadj As Sy is the UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.

By Elhadj As Sy – Special to CNN

Not long ago, Hawa Issak realized that if she stayed in her home in Southern Somalia, she would not be able to secure the survival of her two children and herself. She was pregnant with a third child, her husband had left her and the region’s worst drought in decades had scorched the earth creating utter desolation.

She set out with six other families to find help in Kenya. It took them a month to reach Dadaab, on the other side of the Kenyan border, almost 200 miles away. It’s a remarkable feat for anyone. Now imagine thousands - tens of thousands - of people similarly on the move, stumbling for weeks through dust and scrub beneath a blistering sun. Most of them are women and children hoping to stay alive long enough to reach what has ballooned into the biggest refugee camp in the world.

Right now there is a massive and shocking humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Horn of Africa –specifically in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti. The triple shock of drought, skyrocketing food prices and the ongoing armed conflict in Somalia has created an almost perfect storm of disaster. FULL POST

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Topics: Africa • Aid • Crisis • Human Rights • Water