Aid organizations and the United Nations call for urgent help against famine in East Africa – while the people of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia face their worst drought in 40 years.
Oxfam says food shortages are likely to cause one death every 36 seconds until the end of the year, while the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says help is needed now.
Etienne Peterschmitt, Representative in Somalia, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
“We must not wait for famine to act, because then it will be too late. We have known since 2011, when we faced a famine situation and a famine declaration, that when the famine was declared, half of the 260,000 people who died had actually already died.”
Four successive seasons of poor rainfall have led to the death of livestock and the failure of crops, with rural populations in hard-to-reach areas of Somalia are the most affected.
According to Etienne Peterschmitt, “The current drought is the worst we have seen in the last four decades. It has affected about 7.8 million people. So, to put things in perspective, this is about half the population of Somalia. 90 percent of the country is facing extreme drought.”
High food prices caused by the war in Ukraine have exacerbated the situation, while food instability is often linked to an increase in gender-based violence.
The alert coincides with that of the United Nations World Food Day.