About 13 million people are facing hunger due to severe drought in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Tuesday.
According to WFP, the horn of Africa region is experiencing the driest conditions recorded since 1981, after three consecutive failed rainy seasons decimated crops and caused abnormally high livestock deaths.
“Families have been forced from their homes due to shortages of water and pasture, leading to increased conflict between communities.”
“Further forecasts of below-average rainfall is threatening to worsen and compound 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, Regional Director in the WFP Regional Bureau for Eastern Africa.
Dunford stated that situation required immediate humanitarian action and consistent support to build the resilience of communities for the future.
He noted that the drought had impacted pastoral and farmer populations across southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, south-eastern and northern Kenya and south-central Somalia.
“Increases in staple food prices, inflation and low demand for agricultural labour are compounding the problem, making it harder for families to buy food.”
“Malnutrition rates also remain high across the region and could worsen if no immediate action is taken.”
WFP is launching an appeal for 327 million dollars in aid this week to respond to immediate needs of 4.5 million people over the next six months and help communities become more resilient to extreme climate shocks.