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Horn of Africa: 13 million people at risk of starvation


Thirteen million inhabitants of the Horn of Africa are threatened by famine. A more than alarming situation for the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), which results from several months of severe drought.

This region has never experienced such severe drought since 1981. These climatic conditions have resulted in the destruction of crops, very high livestock mortality, shortages of water and pasture which “force families to leave their homes and lead to a resurgence of conflicts between communities,” the WFP said in its report.

The rain forecast for the coming weeks remains below average, which could lead to a worsening of the problem. “The situation requires immediate humanitarian action and continued support to build community resilience for the future,” said WFP East Africa Regional Director Michael Dunford.

food insecurity in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia

Difficulties which are reinforced by galloping inflation and the sharp rise in food prices, preventing families from buying food. The WFP estimates that around 5.7 million people need food assistance in Ethiopia and 2.8 million in Kenya. In Somalia, the number of acutely food insecure people “is expected to increase from 3.5 to 4.6 million between February and May 2022 if humanitarian aid is not received”, the organization said.

While the WFP is already distributing cash grants in the countries concerned, to help local populations buy food and take care of their livestock, the resources are lacking to prevent millions of people from sinking into famine. This is why the United Nations program is launching a “regional drought response plan” in the Horn of Africa and wants to recover 327 million dollars to “meet the immediate needs of 4.5 million people during for the next six months” and to “help communities become more resilient to extreme climate shocks”.

More frequent extreme weather events

In the World Meteorological Organization’s 2020 report, published last October, experts pointed to very significant “temperature anomalies” in “parts of the Horn of Africa”, as well as in other parts of the continent. . “In 2020, there was an increase of almost 40% in the population affected by food insecurity compared to the previous year,” the report pointed out.

In addition, 12% of new population displacements globally in 2020 occurred in the East of the continent and in the Horn of Africa, mostly due to natural disasters and droughts. Extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change.