Horn of Africa is sliding toward famine, UN agencies warn
Severe hunger is sliding toward famine-like conditions in the Horn of Africa, particularly in Somalia, United Nations (UN) agencies warn, which is the result of four years of consecutive drought that have wiped out peoples’ ability to grow the crops they need to feed themselves.
The World Food Program (WFP) has reported that up to 22 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are facing severe hunger. The food-assistance branch of the UN says hunger and the death of millions of livestock have forced more than 7 million people to leave their homes in search of food, water and grazing pasture for their cattle. The WFP warns these figures are likely to grow, and conditions will continue to deteriorate, as poor rainfall is forecast for the fifth year in a row.
Meanwhile, UNICEF spokesman James Elder says millions of children in the Horn of Africa are literally one disease away from catastrophe. “When you have got these terrifyingly high levels of severe acute malnutrition in children — and that is 1.8 million of those children in that state right now in the Horn, 1.8 million when you have got those — and then you combine it with a simple outbreak in [a] disease like a cholera, like diarrhea, then you see child mortality rates rise at a petrifying speed,” he said. The UN agency has revised its emergency appeal from $119 million to nearly $250 million. This reflects the growing needs across the region.