It cannot be stressed enough that in East Africa, millions of people are facing starvation due to drought. In Somalia, vegetable and grain production is expected to drop by about 80% this year. Over 3.5 million (75%) of the total refugee population in the wider region is affected by cuts to food assistance – including Ethiopia and Kenya, where refugees are only receiving 60% of a full ration. Meanwhile, the cost of a food basket has already risen by 66% cent in Ethiopia and by 36% cent in Somalia, leaving many refugees and IDP families unable to afford even basic items.
Over 50 million people in East Africa will face acute food insecurity this year. 7 million children are suffering from malnourishment. 300,000 people are projected to face Catastrophe in Somalia and South Sudan in 2022, with a Risk of Famine occurring in eight areas of Somalia through September in the event of widespread crop and livestock production failures, spiraling food costs, and in the absence of scaled-up humanitarian assistance.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained, “Now to the Greater Horn of Africa, where millions of people are facing starvation and disease in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. Drought, conflict, climate change and increasing prices for food, fuel and fertilizer are all contributing to lack of access to sufficient food. Hunger and malnutrition pose a direct threat to health, but they also weaken the body’s defenses, and open the door to diseases including pneumonia, measles and cholera. Food insecurity also forces some people to choose between paying for food and health care. Many people are migrating in search of food, which can also put them at increased risk of disease, and reduced access to health services.”
“Our region has been hit like never before”, says Workneh Gebeyehu, Executive Secretary of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). “The combination of climate extremes, conflict, and macroeconomic challenges makes it almost impossible for our otherwise very resilient communities to sustain multiple shocks. The figures we are releasing today are heartbreaking, and I’m very worried they could increase even more as the outlook for the October to December rainy season is bleak.”
Dr. Chimimba David Phiri, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and FAO Representative to the African Union and UNECA, stated, “Now more than ever, we must implement short-term livelihood-saving responses with long-term resilience building aimed at addressing the root causes of food crises in our region”.
Michael Dunford, the World Food Programme’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa, said, “Sadly, there is a very real risk of famine in the region, and we must do everything possible to prevent this from happening. At the same time, together we must start building the capacity to prepare and respond to future shocks which are increasingly inevitable because of a changing climate.”
Drought Pushes Millions In East Africa To Starvation| Countercurrents
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