from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – ONE person is likely dying of hunger every 48 seconds in some drought-ravaged East African countries amid a slow response by the global community.
Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are the worst affected.
This is reminiscent of the 2011 famine that killed more than 260 000 people in Somalia – half of them children under five.
Oxfam and Save the Children lamented that more than a decade since the delayed response, the world is once again failing to avert catastrophic hunger in East Africa.
Currently, nearly 500 000 people across parts of Somalia and Ethiopia are facing famine-like conditions.
In Kenya, some 3,5 million people are suffering extreme hunger.
The number of people experiencing extreme hunger in the three countries have more than doubled since last year – from over 10 million to more than 23 million today.
This is against a backdrop of severe debt that more than tripled in under a decade – from $20,7 billion in 2012 to $65,3 billion.
Climate-induced drought, compounded by conflicts forcing people out of their homes, and COVID-19 economic turmoil, has decimated people’s ability to cope.
The Ukraine conflict has also driven already soaring food prices to their highest level ever recorded, making food unattainable for millions.
Gabriella Bucher, Oxfam International’s Executive Director, said despite worsening warning signs over time, world leaders responded woefully.
“Starvation is a political failure,” she said.
Shako Kijala, Save the Children’s regional spokesperson, bemoaned that 5,7 million children were acutely malnourished, including more than 1,7 million severely malnourished.
“The clock is ticking. Every minute that passes is a minute too close to starvation and possible death of a child,” Kijala said.
– CAJ News