16 million facing hunger in east Africa - Report

16 million facing hunger in east Africa - ReportThe Disasters Emergency Commission is calling for funds to scale up the response to drought in the region and prevent “hunger on a massive scale”, while aid agencies warn that “countless lives are at stake”.

This is reported by The Guardian.

A drought has been especially acute in Somalia, southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, and northern and coastal Kenya. Central and southern Somalia has recorded only a third of the rainfall expected.

Famine has already been declared in parts of South Sudan. War and a collapsing economy have left 100,000 people facing starvation, while 4.9 million people, more than 40% of the population, are considered severely food insecure by the UN.

The UN has warned that Somalia is also on the brink of famine, with 6.2 million people, more than half the country’s population, in urgent need of help. Around 110 people died as a result of hunger in the country at the start of this month, and urgent action is needed to stop a repeat of the famine six years ago, which the UN estimates claimed close to 260,000 lives.

In Ethiopia, the current drought hit the country before it could recover from the devastating effect of El Niño in 2015 and 2016, and more than 5.6 million people are in urgent need.

Kenya declared a national drought emergency last month, affecting 23 of its 47 counties. The government has projected that the number of people facing food insecurity will rise from the current 2.7 million to 4 million by April this year.

DEC’s chief executive, Saleh Saeed, said: “Hunger on a massive scale is looming. More than 800,000 children under five are severely malnourished. Without urgent treatment, they are at risk of starving."
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