AFRICAN DROUGHT

DROUGHT IN THE HORN OF AFRICA: EXPLORING THE UN-WFP NEWS RELEASE

INTRODUCTION

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) published a news release on the 8th of February 2022. It warned that 13 million people across The Horn of Africa are at risk from hunger due to drought. Countries including Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are facing severe hunger during the first financial quarter.

WHAT IS THE UNITED NATIONS WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME?

The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation. They are primarily focused on the second Millenium Development Goal for 2030, ‘ZeroHunger’. This involves helping those most at risk from hunger and famine including those impacted by conflict, climate change, natural disasters and inequality. Drought is one of the contributors to famine and hunger, not just in The Horn of Africa, but around the world.

FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE DROUGHT

The Horn of Africa region depends on the rainy season to replenish crops and maintain the health of livestock. Both of these are important food sources for Africa. However, the past three rainy seasons have been insufficient for crops and livestock to properly mature. Climate change continues to increase the likelihood of droughts. Therefore, these conditions are expected to worsen.

IMPACTS OF THE DROUGHT

The UN’s news release highlighted both the direct and indirect impacts of the drought. Direct impacts include failed harvests, loss of livestock and increased hunger in Africa. Indirect impacts include the increase in food prices, inflation and low demand for agricultural labour.

In Ethiopia, around 5.7 million people are experiencing food shortages due to severe drought. In Kenya, around 2.8 million are experiencing the same. In Somalia, this number is between 3.5 to 4.6 million. Each of these numbers is expected to increase. Therefore, each of these countries needs to receive aid when they need it, as soon as possible. The WFP has stated that US$ 327 million is needed to respond to the needs of 4.5 million people for the next six months.

With climate change increasing the frequency and likelihood of droughts, the effects are also going to worsen. This means that there are long term effects of drought in the Horn of Africa which must be solved. Longer-term response programmes will be needed in the future, to help the region be prepared for more extreme weather.

WHAT THE WFP ARE DOING TO IMPROVE THE SITUATION

The World Food Programme has won a Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to reduce hunger. The organisation has worked with many communities across the world, including countries affected by drought. They work on providing short term food supply as well as working on longer-term solutions. This includes cash grants and insurance schemes to protect families against financial losses from failed crops or loss of livestock.

Hajrah Hafeez

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