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UN appeals for support as millions face food insecurity in E. Africa



The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has called for urgent support from the international donor community as millions suffer from acute food insecurity in East Africa.

In a statement, the WFP said that as of the last quarter of 2023, some 59 million people, about 20 per cent of the total population in East Africa, were suffering from acute food insecurity.

According to data from WFP, the level of food insecurity in the eastern Africa region has increased by 95 per cent as compared to November 2019.

It is mainly due to the economic fallout of COVID-19 coupled with the ripple effects of the conflict in Ukraine and recurrent drought conditions.

Sudan and Ethiopia account for 20.3 million and 20.1 million food insecure people, respectively, and 5.8 million in South Sudan and 4.3 million in Somalia also suffer from food insecurity, it said.

“Inspite the high needs, lack of funds has forced WFP in these countries to re-elaborate its targeting strategy to provide assistance based on the available resources rather than the needs,” it said.

The WFP said its country offices in Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, had all opted to reduce the number of beneficiaries they serve.

Only 12.7 million beneficiaries would be reached in 2024 due to prioritisation.

“In the most severe cases, when funding cuts heavily impact the ability of WFP to continue its operations, country offices are forced to reduce both the caseload and the rations.

“Two country offices in the region are currently facing this scenario, Rwanda and South Sudan,” it said.

Noting that procurement of food items was slashed in half during 2023, the WFP said the projections for 2024 are not likely to increase considering the lack of funds.

Ummul Idris

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