East Africa bloc says 50 million people face acute food insecurity
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — More than 50 million people in the East Africa region are expected to face acute food insecurity this year, a regional bloc said Friday, warning that some 300,000 people in Somalia and South Sudan are expected to be in the midst of a food crisis. starvation conditions.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, or IGAD, assessment is one of the most dire to date as UN agencies, aid groups and others continue to sound the alarm over the food crisis of the region that many believe has been largely neglected as the international community focuses on the war in Ukraine.
This assessment applies to seven IGAD Member States, from Djibouti to Uganda.
Samantha Power, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, travels to East Africa to highlight the hunger crisis in the region.
In Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, on Friday, Power announced at least $255 million in drought-related humanitarian and development assistance to Kenya. She is expected to travel to Ethiopia and Somalia, where some communities have suffered four consecutive failed rainy seasons.
Earlier in the week, Power spoke about the need to prevent the global food crisis from becoming a disaster, announcing $1.2 billion in funding that includes immediate food assistance for people in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.
In addition to immediate humanitarian assistance, the international community must support investment in global agriculture and undertake concerted diplomacy “so that we mobilize more resources from donors, avoid export restrictions that can exacerbate the crisis and ease the burden on poor countries,” Power said. in a speech Monday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
Aid groups and other watchdogs have called for more funding to go to East Africa after the war in Ukraine grabbed the world’s attention and money.
Three million people face “emergency and catastrophic levels of hunger, risking death,” the International Rescue Committee said in a statement on Tuesday, noting that “people have already begun to starve and the window to prevent mass deaths is rapidly closing”.
Even if new US funding is met, “the humanitarian response plan for the region would be funded at 40% of assessed needs,” the group warned. “After just over three months, the $1.9 billion appeal for the humanitarian response in Ukraine has been 85% funded – a demonstration of the ability to mobilize resources when the political will exists.”
Power criticized China for contributing just $3 million to the United Nations World Food Program this year, while the United States gave $3.9 billion this fiscal year. China and other nations “must go above and beyond in our efforts to prevent starvation,” she said on Twitter.
Somalia, a country that continues to grapple with an armed conflict sparked by an extremist Islamist insurgency, is considered particularly vulnerable. A weak humanitarian response to the 2010-12 drought was partly to blame, as a quarter of a million people died in starvation conditions. Half of them were children.
Somalis walk for days across arid landscapes to places like the capital, Mogadishu, in search of help but find there is little or nothing.
The number of people suffering from hunger in Somalia due to drought has almost doubled since the start of the year, according to the IRC, which has seen a 265% increase in admissions of children under 5 suffering from of severe malnutrition in a single clinic in Mogadishu between April and May.
There is a risk of famine in eight regions of Somalia until September “in the event of widespread failures in agricultural and livestock production, soaring food prices and the absence of increased humanitarian assistance”. , as assessed by IGAD.
Tiro brought from Nairobi, Kenya
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