Wednesday April 20, 2022
A months-long drought has left the Horn of Africa on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe, destroying crops and livestock and forcing huge numbers of people to leave their homes in search of food and water.
A woman follows drought-affected livestock as they walk toward a river near Biyolow Kebele, in the Adadle woreda of the Somali region of Ethiopia Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. Drought conditions have left an estimated 13 million people facing severe hunger in the Horn of Africa, according to the United Nations World Food Program. (Michael Tewelde/WFP via AP)
Twenty million people are at risk of starvation this year as delayed rains worsen an already brutal drought in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, the UN warned Tuesday.
As long-awaited rains fail to materialise nearly a month into the current rainy season, “the number of hungry people due to drought could spiral from the currently estimated 14 million to 20 million through 2022,” the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said.
Six million Somalis or 40 percent of the population were facing extreme levels of food insecurity and there was “a very real risk of famine in the coming months” if current conditions prevailed, WFP said.
In Kenya, half a million people were on the brink of a hunger crisis, with communities in the north of the country at risk due to their reliance on livestock.
The number of Kenyans in need of assistance has risen more than fourfold in less than two years, the agency said.