African countries at risk of famine

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African countries at risk of famine
South Omo zone in Ethiopia is facing a severe drought.

Nairobi, 20 April 2022 (TDI): The UN World Food Programme (UN WPF) warns that African countries are at risk of famine. The agency shared warnings regarding the food crisis in the Horns of Africa on Tuesday according to which nearly 20 million people could go hungry this year due to delayed rains and drought; 7.2 million Ethiopians are not getting enough to eat; half a million Kenyans are a step away from hunger and malnutrition, and Somalia will be hit by famine soon.

Deterioration in food security is due to below-average rains for three consecutive sessions, shared WPF. Regional Director for Eastern Africa Michael Dunford said that timely actions could avert a humanitarian catastrophe; however, the launch of response programs has been limited due to a lack of funding. Africa endured drought from 2016-to 2017; however, humanitarian assistance averted the risk of famine. Unfortunately, the international community did not act this time.

The risk of famine and the impact on animals 

Nearly 3 million livestock has died across Southern Ethiopia and the arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya. 30% of Heads have been killed since mid-2021.

“Furthermore, beyond the drought, many of the areas that we are concerned about have been plagued with conflict and insecurity, as well as macroeconomic challenges and rising food prices and recently also by Desert Locust,” said FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa, Dr. Chimimba David Phiri.

Impact of war on Food security

WPF has warned that drought-affected countries will be hardest hit by the impacts of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on food security.  The fallout of the war in Ukraine has resulted in a high cost of food and fuel.

WFP has indicated that a low supply of fertilizers from the Black Sea region will worsen the food crisis in famine-stricken African countries. We believe that the Ukraine crisis has indeed taken some of the lusters from the needs of the Horn of Africa region, remarked Dr. Phiri. The UN humanitarian agencies and WFP seek support to continue their operations in the area. $473 million is required in the next six months to fulfill the needs of 1.5 million people.  Earlier, FAO launched a $130 million drought response plan in January, which has collected $50 million till now.

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