The United Nations and humanitarian organisations warned on Tuesday that millions of people in the Horn of Africa face catastrophic famine as the worst drought in more than 40 years threatens to continue to a fifth consecutive failed rainy season.
They added in a joint statement that the March-May rainy season is expected to be the driest on record, destroying livelihoods and exacerbating a humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia, Somalia, and portions of Kenya, including a danger of famine in Somalia. There is a chance that the rainy season in October and December may also fail.
Drought has coupled with a global surge in food and fuel costs, which has been driven up by the conflict in Ukraine, to affect millions of people across Africa.
According to the statement, 16.7 million people in east Africa are presently suffering from severe food insecurity, with that number expected to rise to 20 million by September.
‘The threat of starvation looms in East Africa. This is after four failed rainy reasons. We are particularly concerned that the situation is set to get worse’, Clare Nullis, spokesperson at the World Meteorological Organization.
said at a briefing in Geneva.
Aid organisations are working to prevent a repetition of a famine that killed hundreds of thousands of people a decade ago. ‘A rapid scaling up of actions is needed now to save lives and avert starvation and death. However, current appeals to respond to the drought remain well underfunded’, the U.N. and agencies said in the joint statement.