Famine remains a real threat in East Africa


WFP distributes food in Somalia. File photo by WFP

from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – THE heavy rains recently recorded in the region are a relief but the drought ravaging East Africa is far from over.

Countries in the region have therefore been urged to remain vigilant.

For the past two years, East Africa has faced unprecedented challenges due to a persistent and prolonged drought, marked by five consecutive below average rainfall seasons.

This has resulted in severe water and pasture shortages, 1 million people displaced, over 10 million livestock and wildlife deaths, reduced crop and livestock production, all of which are increasing food insecurity.

In some pastoral and agropastoral areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, there is risk of famine.

“47 million of our brothers and sisters are highly food insecure and some risk dying of starvation,” Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), said.

A majority of these, 70 percent, of the 47 million people live in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

“This is why, today, we solemnly call on the international community to help us prevent a major humanitarian disaster by committing requisite resources to save lives and livelihoods in the short-term, and continue investing in resilience building in the medium and long-term,” Gebeyehu said.

Ethiopia needs US$710 million to provide support to key sectoral needs in the coming four months.

Kenya requires $378 million to provide food, water and vaccination to affected counties until October 2023.

Somalia needs $1,6 billion to provide food and non-food items to the drought affected communities and internally displaced people (IDPs).

“Our recovery will require resources and time, and we must work to prevent future disasters from having such severe impacts,” Gebeyehu said.

– CAJ News

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