Over 29 million people are set to face acute food insecurity in the Horn of Africa following the current drought.
According to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), recent data has indicated that about 15.5 to 16 million are currently in need of food assistance due to the drought.
Briefing the press on the drought situation at a Nairobi hotel Monday, IGAD Executive Secretary Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, announced that the hardest hit countries are Ethiopia with 6.5 million people, while Somalia and Kenya have 6 million and 3.5 million respectively.
“The drought has caused severe shortage in water and pasture leading to reduced food production, significant losses in livestock, wildlife and resource based violence in these regions,” he said.
Gebeyehu warned that if the situation is not quickly addressed, it will adversely affect an additional 8 million people.
“We are appealing to all stakeholders including the governments, humanitarian actors and international donors to help so that we can save lives,” he urged.
The Executive Secretary said quick response from all stakeholders will avert a terrible outcome.
In her remarks, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Manager at the Nairobi Resilience Hub Alessandra Casazza, said UNDP supports IGAD’s call for urgent response to assist the affected countries in the Horn Africa.
“The issue of drought has been a recurrent crisis and it comes with great intensity therefore we need to start investing in long-term resilience and developments to put a stop to it once and for all,” she said.
Casazza added, “According to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Investment in climate change works and therefore we have a way forward and a solution to put an end to the crisis.”
Speaking at the presser, IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre Director (ICPAC) Dr Gulied Artan, stated that even though no deaths had been recorded, there is a strong probability of thousands of people in hard hit areas succumbing to the drought.
“We can leverage technology in our pursuit for long-term resilience and sustainability,” he said.
Artan also noted that governments are key actors and they ought to do more for those in vulnerable areas and positions.
By Teresa Rurigi and Mike Mulinge