More than 15 million people are severely affected by the drought in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia.
The unprecedented impacts of multiple failed rainy seasons are threatening to create a humanitarian crisis in a region already impacted by cumulative shocks.https://t.co/NYRokkL450
— António Vitorino (@IOMchief) April 8, 2022
Unparalleled food crisis
From conflict and displacement to climate shocks and inflation – all made worse by the Ukraine crisis – there are many reasons for the unprecedented food emergency in the Sahel and West Africa region.
According to WFP, since Russia invaded Ukraine, prices have surged between 30 and 50 per cent in many places – and even doubled in some markets.
After drought caused poor returns last year, farmers have already become deeply concerned about the next harvest.
WFP warned that they lack enough food to cover their needs and amidst escalating conflicts, more than six million people have had to leave their homes in the Sahel.
To provide lifesaving help for the next six months, WFP urgently needs $777 million.
Horn of Africa
At the same time, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) warned that the worst drought in decades is threatening an estimated 15 million people in the Horn of Africa.
Parching landscapes, heightening food insecurity and increasingly widespread displacement has prompted IOM to so call for “an urgent and efficient humanitarian response” to avoid large-scale deterioration throughout the region.
Approximately three, five and seven million people in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia, respectively, risk a humanitarian crisis from unprecedented impacts of multiple failed rainy seasons.
The battered region has already been impacted by cumulative shocks, including conflict, extreme weather conditions, climate change, desert locusts and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Livelihoods drying up
Although the Horn of Africa has experienced climate-induced crises for decades, the current drought on the arid and semi-arid lands has been especially severe.
“There is a high risk of famine and malnutrition as the food security situation is deteriorating rapidly,” according to IOM.
As pastureland and water points are drying up across the region, pastoralist and rural communities are witnessing the death of livestock and loss of their livelihoods.
Thousands of acres of crops have been destroyed and, in Kenya alone, 1.4 million animals died in the final part of last year due to drought.
Tens of thousands of families are being forced to leave their homes in search of food, water, and pasture.
This heightens pressure on already-limited natural resources, increasing the risk of inter-communal conflict, as farming communities and pastoralist communities compete for dwindling supplies of water.