from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – AN estimated 13 million people are facing severe hunger in the first quarter of 2022 as the Horn of Africa experiences the driest conditions in 41 years.
Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are the worst affected.
The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) lamented three consecutive failed rainy seasons that have decimated crops and caused abnormally high livestock deaths.
Shortages of water and pasture are forcing families from their homes and leading to increased conflict between communities.
Further forecasts of below-average rainfall are threatening to worsen dire conditions in the coming months.
“Harvests are ruined, livestock are dying and hunger is growing as recurrent droughts affect the Horn of Africa,” said Michael Dunford, Director in the WFP Regional Bureau for Eastern Africa.
“The situation requires immediate humanitarian action and consistent support to build the resilience of communities for the future,” he added.
The drought has impacted pastoral and farmer populations across southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, south-eastern and northern Kenya and south-central Somalia.
The impacts are compounded by increases in staple food prices, inflation, and low demand for agricultural labour, further worsening families’ ability to buy food.
Malnutrition rates also remain high across the region.
WFP has launched its Regional Drought Response Plan for the Horn of Africa, calling for US$327 million.
– CAJ News