The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is concerned that multiple seasons of drought plus ongoing conflict in parts of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan will likely result in extreme hunger in the coming months, similar to the drought of 2016.
Kurt Tjossem, IRC Regional Vice President for East Africa said:
“We’re extremely worried about the impact of continuing drought and conflict on vulnerable populations throughout the horn of Africa, where a large proportion of the population relies heavily on crops to eat and sell for their livelihoods. Due to the poor rainfall and low crop production in the last few months, 2.1 million people in Kenya alone including refugees from neighbouring countries will be facing extreme hunger in the next 6 months. In the Oromia region of Ethiopia for example, severe drought is exacerbating hunger needs amidst the largely agropastoral-reliant population and with funding diverted to the north of the country, means people are at risk of extreme hunger. Across Somalia, 3.5 million people are facing hunger due to a lack of harvest and farmers who depend on livestock are seeing animals dying from thirst on a daily basis. As seen from previous crises, early action is critical and reduces the impact of crises; we must act now.
“Interethnic and resource driven conflict also means that families who rely on agricultural productivity are not able to access the materials they need to harvest crops while aid organizations are often not able to reach populations in need due to access constraints.