Social media and famine in the Horn of Africa

Collecting water at Ifo camp, Dadaab

Collecting water at Ifo camp, Dadaab (image from Oxfam - Flickr)

The United Nations has declared the Horn of Africa a disaster area with “as many as 38 million Africans living under the threat of starvation”

This sort of emergency is being recognised by organisations such as Oxfam who recently developed this interactive map to show where food shortages and famine are likely or exist.

Other bodies are using twitter, flying in bloggers, broadcasting concerts and holding online fundraising as a way of raising awareness and funds for the area –

For more background see:,


UPDATE: An Australian East African Appeal has been launched, promoted primarily through radio and social media platforms:





Maturing social technologies becoming increasingly important

Evacuating Rosalie

Evacuating Rosalie during the 2011 Brisbane floods

Julian O’Shea is a humanitarian engineer who coordinates research programs for Engineers Without Borders.

He writes that “The increasing frequency and scale of natural disasters make the need for proper responses critical. Information is at the core of effective decision making for emergency services and for people directly impacted by natural disasters.”

“Each time we face nature’s fury, these maturing technologies will function as increasingly-important tools.”

In an article for ABC Technology, Julian summarises a lot of the ways social technologies were used during the disasters earlier this year.

More at “Technology responds when disaster strikes