The Horn of Africa is facing its worst drought in 40 years. Around 13 million people are suffering a hunger crisis every day, says the United Nations. Experts have warned that the region is already on the brink of a catastrophe and that time is running out.
Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea make up The Horn of Africa. It is also known as the Somali peninsula. This region has recorded its driest conditions since 1981. It has not been receiving the required amount of rainfall for three consecutive seasons since October 2020. Experts cite a number of reasons, including climate change.
The lack of rainfall has caused a severe drought. The drought, in turn, has led to widespread crop failure and high rate of livestock death. Cereal production has stopped drastically and over 1.5 million livestock have been killed so far. The Horn of Africa has a famine looming over.
Nearly 5.5 million children in the region are threatened by acute malnutrition and an estimated 1.4 million by severe acute malnutrition. And the conditions are only expected to get worse - with no further rains due until April 2022.
The Horn of Africa has always been prone to droughts. In Somalia’s 2011 famine, an estimated 250,000 people died, half of them children. By 2017, 6.3 million people across the country faced an acute hunger crisis.
Now, many families in drought-ravaged rural areas are fleeing to major cities in search of food and water. They are also moving to displacement camps where food, water and medical services are provided occasionally. Some of these camps have 800-1000 families in them.
The United Nations World food programme is seeking $327 million to look after the urgent needs of 4.5 million people over the next couple of months. The UNICEF is appealing for $123 million to prevent a disaster for children and their families till the end of June 2022. Experts believe that help from other nations and climate-resilient efforts to renew living standards can help improve the situation in Eastern Africa.