NAIROBI, KENYA — Relief officials decry what they see as the insufficient global attention and support being given to millions of people in the Horn of Africa. With few exceptions, the situation is growing worse in the Horn, according to a variety of United Nations and Western relief officials.
"The only hope is in the political sphere," says Angelo Rasanayagam, Sudan desk officer for the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. By that, he and others say they mean peace and stability in the region.
A look at the region shows:
* Massive flight: Tens of thousands of Ethiopian soldiers and civilians, many of them wounded, are fleeing to Sudan, Kenya, and Djibouti, since Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, was seized by rebels at the end of May.
Hundreds of thousands of Somalis have fled their country since rebels brought down the government in January.
And thousands of Sudanese, who had taken refuge in Ethiopia to escape their own civil war, are now fleeing attacks by Ethiopian rebels and returning home to remote areas of the country where there is little food.
* Hunger and homelessness: The US Committee on Refugees, a private research group, estimates that there are now about 27 million refugees and victims of civil war and drought in the Horn.
There are 9.8 million in Sudan, 8.5 million in Ethiopia, and the entire population of Somalia, 8.4 million people, is considered in need of some form of assistance. Djibouti, with 400,000 residents, has been flooded by 100,000 Ethiopian refugees.
* Civil war: In Somalia, while rebels in the north have declared their region independent, some rebel groups in the south continue fighting each other.
In both Somalia and parts of southern Ethiopia, there is anarchy in regions not controlled by any one rebel group. Civil war continues in Sudan, with renewed government bombing on some southern rebel-held towns.
The tragedy unfolding in the Horn is much larger than that of the Kurds in Iraq, says Frank Verhagen, a senior UN relief official. "It affects more people, and over larger areas, yet it has received little assistance."