Sub-Saharan Africa at risk of multiple humanitarian crises |

issuing a warning, WFP said the figure rose to 43 million when the Central African Republic was included in the food insecurity assessment.

And the problem is not limited to rural areas, as the 16 million people living in urban areas are also at risk of acute food insecurity as the WFP warns that about six million children in the Sahel are malnourished.

Unprecedented food crisis

From conflict and displacement to climate shocks and inflation, all exacerbated by the Ukraine crisis, there are many reasons for the unprecedented food emergency in the Sahel and West Africa.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, prices have increased by 30-50% in many places, and have even doubled in some markets, according to the WFP.

After last year’s drought caused poor harvests, farmers are already seriously concerned about the future harvest.

WFP has warned that they do not have enough food to cover their needs, and as conflicts escalate, more than six million people have been forced to flee their homes in the Sahel.

To provide lifesaving assistance over the next six months, WFP urgently needs $777 million.

horn of africa

At the same time, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) warned that Worst drought in decades threatens an estimated 15 million people in the Horn of Africa.

Arid landscapes, increased food insecurity and increasing population displacement prompted IOM to call for an “urgent and effective humanitarian response” to avoid a large-scale deterioration of the situation throughout the region.

An estimated three, five and seven million people in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, respectively, are at risk of a humanitarian crisis due to the unprecedented impact of several unfortunate rainy seasons.

The devastated region has already been hit by cumulative shocks, including conflict, extreme weather, climate change, desert locusts and COVID-19 pandemic.

Livelihoods are drying up

Although the Horn of Africa has experienced climate crises for decades, the current drought in arid and semi-arid lands has been particularly severe.

There is a high risk of hunger and malnutrition as the food security situation deteriorates rapidly,“according to IOM.

As pastures and water bodies dry up across the region, pastoralists and rural communities are witnessing loss of livestock and loss of livelihoods.

Thousands of acres of crops were destroyed, and only in Kenya 1.4 million the animals died at the end of last year due to drought.

Tens of thousands of families are forced to leave their homes in search of food, water and pastures.

This adds pressure to already limited natural resources, increasing the risk of intercommunal conflict as farming and pastoral communities compete for dwindling water supplies.

© UNICEF/Sebastian Rich

A man and his children collect water from the dried-up Dollow River, Somalia.

drought-induced displacement

In Somalia, where parts of the country have experienced severe water shortages for the past 40 years, the government declared a state of emergency last November.

According to IOM Movement Matrix analysis, arid conditions may inevitably crowd out one million Somalis, in addition to the 2.9 million already displaced.

Based on past patterns of drought-driven population displacement, affected populations are likely to move from rural areas to urban centers, overburdening critical services, including health facilities, which could cause other serious health problems.

IOM flow monitoring has documented an increase in drought-induced movements from Somalia to Ethiopia, possibly to gain access to water and pastures.

However, Ethiopia is also suffering from the dire consequences of a drought that has undermined the livelihoods of at least four million pastoral and agro-pastoral communities.

A drought could soon displace more than a million Somalis. IOM

Requires lead power

To avert a humanitarian catastrophe, IOM is working closely with governments, UN agencies and other partners in every country to meet the acute water needs of internally displaced persons, migrants and vulnerable groups.

Through its operational presence, local partnerships in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, and Rapid Response Fund mechanism in Ethiopia, IOM is well positioned to provide assistance to drought-affected populations throughout the region.

However, despite the active reaction of the IOM, limited resources cause needs to outstrip opportunities.

“Additional funding is urgently needed to save lives and livelihoods, mitigate further displacement and prevent greater future needs,” the UN agency said in a statement.

Urgent needs require large-scale emergency humanitarian assistance, including food, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); non-grocery goods; and conflict management interventions.

In the longer term, the global climate crisis has highlighted the need to collectively improve disaster preparedness and adaptation to climate change.

This should include addressing the structural development needs of vulnerable populations and prioritizing comprehensive access to natural resources.

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