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Horn of Africa: Drought threatens livelihoods and food security
An armed Somali walks past cow skeletons near the southern Somali town of Malkahidda. A drought has hit the Horn of Africa, leaving pastoralists devastated following deaths of their stock. (Africa Review)
In FEB16, UN World Food Program chief economist Arif Husain warned that more than 20 million people risk dying from starvation within six months in four separate famines, including one in the Horn of Africa. While humanitarian aid worldwide is at record high levels, demand is growing even faster. The rise has been attributed to deepening humanitarian crises, where conflict and severe drought have crippled food production levels. In a joint letter to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on 28FEB, 44 local and international aid agencies working in Somalia urged the UN chief to encourage the international community to step up its efforts to ensure that the mistakes made in the 2011 Horn of Africa crisis are not repeated and push for immediate drought relief. During his visit to Somalia and Kenya on 07-08MAR, Guterres urged the international community to take immediate action, saying the world has a “moral obligation” to help those in need.
News summary of events during the week of 27FEB17 – 08MAR17
Sample of Twitter handles tweeting about the famine in the Horn of Africa region
Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the famine in the Horn of Africa region
Abdullahi Mohamed Ibrahim, Deputy Director, Sorrdo (Somalia)
“They are so desperate. The ravaging drought forced them to flee from their homes.”
Aline O’Connor, Director, Agri Experience (Kenya)
“There is a lot of food insecurity in Kenya, approximately 42% of Kenyans … and the diversity of their diet is not good. You want to grow a variety of crops.”
Dave Husy, Program Director, Plan Australia
“We’re looking at 40 to 50 percent of the population facing acute food shortages, and a good proportion would be reaching a desperate state.”
Henry Wandera, Economics Lecturer, (Kenya)
“In urban areas, hunger is ravaging families not because there is no food to buy, but people cannot afford. The case in worse in rural areas where incomes are very low. If the situation persists, the number of people in need of food aid would reach alarming proportions.”
Simon Nyabwengi, National Director, World Vision International-Somalia Program
“These (71,000) children and their families need immediate life-saving assistance and access to food, water, medicine and other basic services essential for their survival as time is running out fast. A window of early action has been missed, for history not to repeat action cannot be delayed any longer.”
Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the famine in the Horn of Africa region
Byline: Marilia Brocchetto and Deborah Bloom
Date: 04 March 2017
At least 110 people, most of them women and children, have died from starvation and drought-related illness in Somalia in the past 48 hours, Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said Saturday.
Khaire made the announcement while speaking to the drought committee in Mogadishu, four days after President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo declared the drought a national disaster.
Media: Xinhua (China)
Date: 03 March 2017
A prolonged drought across the East African region and heavy flooding in some southern African countries are compounding the effects of conflicts to make people’s lives difficult. Against the global trend of good harvests, Africa, especially its eastern part, faces the challenge of worsening food security due to drought and conflicts.
Some 37 countries require external assistance for food, including 28 African countries, as a result of lingering effects of last year’s El Nino-triggered drought on harvests, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Byline: Adriane Ohanesian
Date: 02 March 2017
Puntland, Somalia – A week after his inauguration, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo declared a state of disaster in his drought-stricken country of Somalia, where the lives of 6.2 million people are now at risk.
Even as the ongoing war against al-Shabab continues and African Union forces (AMISOM) fight to assist the fragile government, the looming famine has become a priority.
Media: Washington Post
Byline: Kevin Sieff
Date: 01 March 2017
NAIROBI — President Trump has proposed large cuts to foreign aid at a time of acute need across Africa and the Middle East, with four countries approaching famine and 20 million people nearing starvation, according to the United Nations.
It is the first time in recent memory that so many large-scale hunger crises have occurred simultaneously, and humanitarian groups say they do not have the resources to respond effectively. The United Nations has requested $4.4 billion by March to “avert a catastrophe,” Secretary General António Guterres said last week. It has so far received only a tiny fraction of that request.
Media: Associated Press
Byline: Abdi Guled
Date: 27 February 2017
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Her eyes glued to the feeble movements of her malnourished baby with protruding ribs and sunken eyes, Fadumo Abdi Ibrahim struggled to hold back her tears in the stifling and crowded feeding center in Somalia’s capital. She waved a scrap of fabric over him to create a current of air.
She is one of thousands of desperate people streaming into Somalia’s capital seeking food as a result a prolonged drought, overwhelming local and international aid agencies. The Somali government warns of a looming famine.
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