EAST AFRICA: Drought threatens 20 million people with starvation

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EAST AFRICA: Drought threatens 20 million people with starvation©mehmet ali poyraz/Shutterstock

The World Food Programme (WFP) is concerned about growing food insecurity in the Horn of Africa. The UN food aid agency says at least 20 million people are at risk of starvation this year due to worsening drought in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Global warming continues to take its toll on the African continent. The international community has not yet recovered from the consternation caused by the floods that occurred from 9 to 11 April 2022 in the Kwazulu-Natal province in eastern South Africa (provisional death toll: 443 and 4,000 houses destroyed, editor’s note), when a new climatic catastrophe is announced.

The World Food Programme (WFP) says that at least 20 million people are at risk of famine this year due to the worsening drought in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. At present, “six million Somalis, nearly 40 percent of the country’s population, face extreme levels of food insecurity and, without improvement, ‘a very real risk of famine in the coming months,'” the WFP said.

In Kenya, 500,000 people are headed for a food crisis, particularly in northern communities that rely on livestock production. In Ethiopia, the east and south of the country are particularly affected, with nearly 7 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. This is a new crisis, while the country is already struggling to manage the catastrophic situation in the north of the country due to the war in Tigray.

Three years without rainy seasons

The current drought in the Horn of Africa has broken records not seen in nearly 40 years, according to the United Nations, which laments three years without rainy seasons. Unprecedented water stress has ravaged crops and livestock, and forced many people to leave their homes in search of water and food. “This drought is also displacing communities, leading to inter-community conflict and high rates of malnutrition,” said Marie Sasylva, WFP spokesperson.

Read also-AFRICA: The continent will have 105 million climate migrants by 2050

In a previous release, in February 2022, on the disasters of the drought in the Horn of Africa, the WFP estimated its financial needs in this region at 327 million dollars. This is the amount needed to meet the immediate needs of approximately 4.5 million people over the next six months and help communities become more resilient to extreme weather shocks. “The situation requires immediate humanitarian action and continued support to build community resilience for the future,” said Michael Dunford, WFP’s Regional Director for East Africa.

Boris Ngounou 

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