Mali’s humanitarian response plan seeks $686 million
An estimated 13 million people wake up hungry every day in the Horn of Africa as the region grapples with a major drought caused by the driest conditions since 1981, the World Food Program warned on Tuesday. (MAP).
Three consecutive failed rainy seasons in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have decimated crops and caused unusually high livestock deathswhile shortages of water and pasture force families from their homes and trigger conflicts between communities.
“Crops are ruined, livestock are dying and hunger is on the rise as recurrent droughts affect the Horn of Africa,” said Michael Dunford, Regional Director of WFP’s Regional Bureau for East Africa.
Meanwhile, forecasts of below-average rainfall threaten to worsen already dire conditions.
Drought has affected pastoral and agricultural populations in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, south-eastern and northern Kenya and south-central Somalia, exacerbating the rise in staple food prices and the inflation, as well as low demand for agricultural labor, which exacerbates the inability of families to buy food.
And high malnutrition rates in the region could worsen if immediate action is not taken.
In the three drought-affected countries, WFP is providing lifesaving food and nutrition assistance to affected communities.
In addition, its cash grants and insurance programs help families purchase feed for livestock.
To avoid a major humanitarian crisis, like the one in 2011 when 250,000 people died of starvation in Somalia, WFP is launching a regional drought response plan for the Horn of Africa.
It is requesting $327 million to meet the immediate needs of 4.5 million people over the next six months and to help communities become more resilient to extreme climate shocks.
Ethiopia is ‘drying up’
In Ethiopia, about 5.7 million people affected by severe drought need food aid.
Elamu, a mother of seven, told WFP the drought had put her livestock “at risk”.
“Our livelihood depends on them, so we do everything we can to keep them healthy,” she explained. “Every morning we take our cattle to graze in a remote pasture, but even that area is drying out.”
The UN food relief agency is supporting her with cash transfers and providing her with crucial information about the upcoming drought.
Elamu is one of approximately 3,000 pastoralist households receiving cash transfers and one of 16,000 receiving early warning messages from WFP to help manage drought in Ethiopia’s Somali region.
Elsewhere, WFP is scaling up food assistance to 2.9 million people in the Somali region, providing 585,000 malnourished children and mothers with nutritional treatment; and preventive treatment of malnutrition for 80,000 households with mothers or young children.
It is also continuing its programs on livelihoods, resilience and food systems to protect recent development gains and strengthen vulnerable Somalis against droughts and other long-term crises.
Meanwhile, in September, Kenya’s government declared the drought a national emergency as around 2.8 million people rushed for help.
WFP has targeted more than 890,000 people in the worst affected counties for emergency food assistance and has scaled up malnutrition treatment and prevention programs for women and children.
WFP will also expand its support for microinsurance for smallholder farmers there.
“The situation requires immediate humanitarian action and continued support to build community resilience for the futuresaid Dunford.
Meanwhile, Mohamed M. Fall, regional director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Eastern and Southern Africa, called the situation a “catastrophe”, saying “millions of lives are at stake”. .
“The needs are massive and urgent, and they are rapidly exceeding the funds available to meet them. We must act NOW to avert disaster,” he said.
UNICEF projects that the number of people in need in the Horn of Africa is almost equal to the combined populations of Greece and Sweden.
“Many of them are children, who are at even greater risk due to one of the worst climate-induced emergencies in 40 years,” he said.
Children at risk
Warning that “the region cannot weather another perfect storm” – of COVID-19, conflict and climate change – he stressed that children are being deprived of homes, meals, classrooms and schools. access to vital health services.
Currently, nearly 5.5 million children in the region are at risk of acute malnutrition and about 1.4 million of severe acute malnutrition, which can increase by 50% if rains do not fall within three coming months.
“This is a crisis that requires a collective response – ensuring access to clean water, nutrition and safe spaces for children” – otherwise they will die or suffer unnecessary suffering “with damage cognitive or physical for life,” Fall said.
Multi-million dollar request
In order to provide life-saving assistance, UNICEF is appealing for $123 million to prevent disaster for children and their families until the end of June 2022.
“Their lives and their future depend on it. We must act quickly. We must act together. And we need to act across all sectors,” the UNICEF official said.