Worst drought in 40 years threatens millions in horn of Africa

The UN’s World Food Program has warned that a fourth failed rain in the Horn of Africa could further exacerbate hunger that threatens the lives of 13 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia.

According to Michael Dunford, WFP’s regional director for East Africa, the drought has been particularly devastating to pastoral communities, which depend on animals for their livelihood. He said an estimated 3 million livestock have already died due to lack of food and water.

“In my most recent visits to drought-hit areas of Kenya and Ethiopia earlier this year, dead animals littered the streets and crops were completely destroyed,” Dunford said in an emailed response to questions. “Similar scenes can be found in Somalia.”

The March to May rains “have failed,” and the drought has put an end to the coping mechanisms of those who now have to rely on humanitarian aid to survive. “Families in the region are accustomed to drought, but they are experiencing the driest in four decades,” Dunford said.

According to WFP, reliance on imports from Black Sea countries such as Ukraine will worsen the situation by raising prices.

“While the world’s attention turns to Ukraine, it is important that we do not forget East Africa and allow funding for humanitarian aid only when it is most needed,” Dunford said. He said the WFP needs $327 million to support 4.5 million people.

The US Agency for International Development on Wednesday announced $114 million in humanitarian aid to support efforts in three countries.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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