UN Warns Worsening Drought In Horn of Africa Puts Up To 20 Million At Risk

The United Nations (UN) on Tuesday warned that over 20 million people are at risk of starvation this year as delayed rains worsen an already brutal drought in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, reported UN News.

The Horn of Africa is already on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe due to a months-long drought that has destroyed crops and livestock, forcing hundreds of people to flee their homes in search of food and water.

On Tuesday, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said as long-awaited rains fail to materialize nearly a month into the current rainy season, the number of hungry people due to drought is likely to affect the currently estimated 14 million to 20 million through 2022.

The UN food security agency 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.

According to the WFP, half a million people were on the edge of a hunger crisis in Kenya, with communities in the north of the country, especially at risk due to their dependency on livestock.

The UN agency said the number of Kenyans in need of assistance has risen more than fourfold in less than two years.

Meanwhile, malnutrition rates in drought-hit southern and southeastern Ethiopia have surged above emergency thresholds, while the north of the country has been in the grip of a 17-month war between government forces and Tigrayan rebels.

The situation in the Horn of Africa has also been compounded by the fallout from the war in Ukraine, as the cost of food and fuel continues to soar.  WFP said that drought-affected countries are likely to be the hardest hit. 

The UN agency warned that a lack of funding could spell disaster, calling for $473 million over the next six months. It said that a previous appeal in February raised less than 4% of the cash needed.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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