No water after a month of rainy season in the Horn of Africa

To avert a humanitarian disaster in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, the World Food Program needs $473 million.

There are currently 14 million people suffering from hunger in the Horn of Africa. They will probably soon be 20 million, according to the World Food Program (WFP), which announces that the rain has still not arrived, almost a month after the start of the rainy season.

In Somalia, the hour is with the famine. Half of Kenya's population is “close to experiencing catastrophic levels of hunger”. As for Ethiopia, malnutrition rates are well above emergency thresholds.

And it's no surprise for Michael Dunford, WFP's regional director for East Africa, who recalls that the warning was issued last year, but that the funding did not follow.

“We know from experience that it is vital to act quickly to avert a humanitarian disaster, but our ability to launch the response has been limited due to a lack of funding to date. WFP and other aid agencies have been warning the international community since last year that this drought could be disastrous if we do not act immediately, but funding has failed to materialize on the scale required. »

The conflict in Ukraine is making the situation worse, with the cost of food and fuel reaching unprecedented heights. "Countries in the Horn of Africa affected by drought are likely to be the hardest hit by the repercussions of the conflict, explains the WFP, before continuing, "the cost of the food basket has already increased, particularly in Ethiopia (66% ) and Somalia (36%), which are heavily dependent on wheat from countries in the Black Sea Basin, and the interruption of imports further threatens food security”. Adding that “shipping costs on some routes have doubled since January 2022”.

During its last call last February, less than 4% of the necessary funds had been received. To save lives in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, the World Food Program now needs $473 million.

MC

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