After the famous food crises of 2011 and 2017, the Horn of Africa will face by June 2022, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) one of the most appalling food crises in the world. Given the urgency of the moment and the warning signs, the international community is alerted to avoid the worst.
Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya; these are the countries mainly in the crosshairs of a food catastrophe in 2022. A pre-hunger and drought situation is thus likely in the Horn of Africa, a region hit by locust invasions and the Covid 19 pandemic. According to the FAO: “There is an urgent need to support pastoralists and farmers in the Horn of Africa, immediately, as the seasonal cycle does not wait,” said Rein Paulsen, director of the UN agency’s emergency office.
Causes in sight…
Indeed, the drought due to the El Nino phenomenon will pose a mortal threat to this area of Africa, which is already experiencing a dramatic situation in its history. This meteorological phenomenon is one of the most terrible of these last decades knowing that it caused 22.000 victims between 1997 and 1998. This warm equatorial stream in the Pacific, which occurs every five to seven years, has reached a record intensity, increasing the temperature of the water by two degrees compared to normal. Essentially, some parts of this region of Africa had not experienced three seasons of low rainfall in over 30 years. Lack of water, grazing and food has already forced about 169,000 people to leave their homes. A number which, according to the UN communiqué published on December 20, could reach 1.4 million in six months. More than 25 million people could become critically food insecure, not because of armed conflict but because of natural disasters.
The consequences are particularly worrying given that most children in Somalia are undernourished. According to the UN, grain prices in Kenya are 30-80% higher than the average for the past five years. In Ethiopia, the consumer price index for food jumped nearly 41% in May over a year. According to data from the world’s largest organization, the drought has affected 3.2 million people in Kenya, 2.6 million in Somalia, 3.2 million in Ethiopia and 117,000 in Djibouti. “We haven’t seen a drought like this in 60 years in some pastoral areas…” said Elisabeth Byrs, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
FAO calls for mobilisation
For the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), it is still possible to avoid this catastrophic scenario. It plans to act quickly and in a timely manner to provide water, seeds, feed, veterinary care and money for affected families. In the same vein, it has provided support to 1.5 million of the most affected rural populations in its mobilization plan. Similarly, the UN organization calls for the mobilization of more than 138 million dollars to address the threat. Of this, $130 million must be urgently made available for vulnerable communities and areas at risk. As for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), it will not remain on the sidelines of the situation. Several famine outbreaks have already been detected around the world and on the list are those countries in the Horn of Africa cruelly threatened by drought.