| 10 December 2023, Sunday |

Millions face hunger emergency in Horn of Africa, warns UN

On Wednesday, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) issued a warning stating that millions of people in the Horn of Africa region are currently experiencing a persistent hunger crisis.
Michael Dunford, WFP Regional Director for Eastern Africa in Nairobi, emphasized the gravity of the challenges faced by the Horn of Africa region, saying: “Conflict, climate extremes, and economic shocks: the region is facing multiple crises simultaneously.”

High food and energy prices, along with the reverberating impact of the conflict in Sudan, compound the dire situation.

As the region struggles to recover from the longest recorded drought in history, flash flooding caused by recent rains has further deepened the humanitarian catastrophe.

“Flooding, resulting from five consecutive failed rainy seasons, has devastated livelihoods by killing livestock, damaging farmland, and displacing communities. Furthermore, the outbreak of conflict in Sudan has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes,” said Dunford in a statement.

WFP warned that the limited humanitarian resources available are being stretched further by the conflict in Sudan, which has sent over 250,000 people fleeing into neighboring countries such as Ethiopia and South Sudan where food insecurity is already desperately high.

The long-awaited rains that arrived in March and were expected to bring relief to the drought-ridden region have instead caused flash floods, inundating homes, submerging farmland, and washing away livestock.

Schools and health facilities were forced to close due to the floods, and an additional 219,000 people in southern Somalia were displaced, with 22 lives lost.

Over the past three years, the drought has plunged more than 23 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia into severe hunger.

The situation has led to exorbitant transport costs across the Horn of Africa region which has pushed food prices beyond the reach of millions.

In Eastern Africa, the cost of a food basket in March 2023 was 40% higher than a year ago, while fuel prices in Ethiopia nearly doubled over the same period.

“Despite the emergency being far from over, funding shortfalls are already forcing us to scale back assistance. Without sustainable funding for both emergency response and climate adaptation solutions, the next climate crisis could push the region back to the brink of famine,” Dunford warned.

WFP on Wednesday appealed for $810 million over the next six months to provide immediate relief in the Horn of Africa.

  • Anadolu Agency