Saving lives through livelihoods: critical gaps in the response to the drought in the Greater Horn of Africa

Briefing papers
May 2006
Humanitarian Policy Group

This paper reviews the extent of emergency livelihoods responses to the crisis in the Horn of Africa. Drawing on secondary data and interviews with national and international actors in affected areas, it asks why accurate and timely early warning did not lead to a rapid and appropriate response to mitigate the drought’s effects, and highlights how inadequate contingency planning, limited capacity in livelihoods programming and inflexible funding mechanisms resulted in delays and deficiencies in livelihoods interventions, and the predominance of food assistance in the emergency response. It argues that in order to effectively address the impact of drought, responses must be based on a more in-depth understanding of pastoral livelihoods systems.

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