The international disaster relief charity ShelterBox is preparing to help thousands of people facing the most prolonged drought East Africa has faced in 40 years.

While the drought facing the UK grabs media headlines, the worsening situation in the Horn of Africa has been left largely overlooked. It’s a crisis affecting almost 20 million people across parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya, with more than a million people displaced. Many of them are still on the move with nowhere to live, having had to leave their homes behind as they desperately search for food, water, or grazing land for their livestock.

Cornwall-based ShelterBox will be distributing emergency shelter aid to thousands of displaced people affected by the drought in the Somali region of Ethiopia this month. It will include tarpaulins, rope, and other essential items that will allow people to build emergency shelters to help protect themselves from the elements.

Henry Thompson, ShelterBox’s programme manager for Ethiopia, said: “We know that more than 420,000 people have been displaced by the drought in Ethiopia alone and many of them are taking drastic action to survive.

“ShelterBox aid will make a tangible difference to thousands of people in desperate need of shelter in the Somali region of the country.

“Tarpaulins will help people create temporary homes that will protect their families from the elements, giving them their own space to spent time with one-another.

“It’s not just Ethiopia facing this crisis though, the drought is crippling neighbouring countries, too, and more support is desperately needed to help people survive.”

ShelterBox has helped more than two million people across 98 countries since it was established in 2000 and relies heavily on public donations to fund its responses across the world.