Severe drought to affect 36.1 millions in Hone of Africa: UN

NAIROBI: The United Nations has warned that a severe drought will affect at least 36.1 million people in the Horn of Africa in October, including 24.1 million people in Ethiopia, 7.8 million people in Somalia, and 4.2 million people in Kenya.

The figure reflects a huge increase from July, when it was projected that 19.4 million people were afflicted by drought, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as per reports.

OCHA said, humanitarian organisations are already in a race against time and are working around the clock to address this catastrophe, which is rapidly getting worse.

In its latest humanitarian brief on the drought, which was posted on Wednesday night, OCHA said that "urgent extra funding is required to scale up and sustain the response."

Communities in the Horn of Africa are reportedly under immediate threat of starvation as the October-December rainy season is expected to be less successful than average, making it the fifth consecutive unsuccessful season in some regions of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.

OCHA said, two districts in Somalia are immediately in danger of going hungry, and between October and December, at least 21 million people are expected to experience severe food insecurity as a result of droughts in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. ‘The awful droughts in 2010-2011 and 2016-2017 have now been eclipsed in both time and intensity by the horrific droughts in 2020-2022 and will continue to worsen in the months to come, with disastrous repercussions." it said.

According to the report, food prices are skyrocketing in many drought-affected areas as a result of a confluence of macroeconomic difficulties, below-average harvests, and increased food and fuel prices on global markets, notably as a result of the conflict between the Ukraine and Russia.

 

According to price monitoring data from the World Food Program (WFP), the cost of basic foods in Somalia's drought-stricken districts has risen above both the levels seen during the 2017 drought and the 2011 famine. According to the WFP, the price of the local food basket grew by more than 33% in Ethiopia between January and June 2022.

Families are being forced to sell their hard-earned assets and properties in order to buy food and other essentials due to rising prices that make it impossible for them to afford even basic necessities. There are also effects on programmes that provide food for refugees, which are already negatively impacted by lower rations as a result of a lack of financial support.

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