By Njoroge Kaburo NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
About 22.9 million people in Horn of Africa
region are in need of humanitarian assistance amid a looming
famine in some countries, the UN warned in a report released on
The UN Office for
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest
report for January-March that the short rains season in East
Africa (October to December) largely failed with levels of
rainfall largely comparable to those of 2010, resulting in
reduced river flow levels, water scarcity for human and
livestock consumption and widespread crop failures.
According to OCHA,
drought in the Horn of Africa is expected to intensify in the
coming months, with a delayed start to the rainy season and
depressed levels of precipitation forecast for March-May in most
of the Horn.
The report said the
number of food insecure people in Uganda has quadrupled and
doubled in Kenya and Somalia, warning that the humanitarian
situation in Somalia has deteriorated rapidly, where famine
could soon be a reality in some of the worst drought-affected
The report said
severe drought, rising prices, continued insecurity and access
limitations, and depressed rain forecasts suggest famine is
possible again in Somalia.
“The food insecure
population (in Somalia) increased from 5 million in September
2016 to over 6.2 million in February. This includes a drastic
increase in the number of people in “crisis” and “emergency”
from 1.1 million six months ago to nearly 3 million projected
for February to June,” it said.
The UN said
humanitarian space continued to be constrained across the region
due to insecurity, bureaucratic impediments and financial
It says the volatile
and insecure operational environment in South Sudan, Somalia,
Sudan and eastern DRC made it especially difficult and costly to
respond to growing needs.
Meanwhile, the UN
says conflict has been the major cause of displacement across
borders and a threat to peoples’ security.
“There are 4 million
refugees and asylum seekers in the region, and most of the newly
displaced come from South Sudan. More people have fled South
Sudan since July 2016 than Syria in the whole of 2016,” the UN
The report warns
there is a risk of a further escalation of violence in South
Sudan. In Somalia, the increased fragmentation of armed groups
and the pull-out of foreign troops are worrying developments.
are on rise in Somalia and in Kenya’s northeastern border area.
In Kenya, tensions and localized conflicts are set to rise ahead
of national elections scheduled for August,” the UN said.
It also warns that
inter-communal violence is expected to increase in
drought-affected areas as pastoralists journey with their
animals looking for increasingly limited water and pasture
The report says
communicable diseases will likely spread across the region due
to increased population flows and the gathering of displaced
populations into overcrowded settlements characterized by poor
sanitation and the shortage of potable water.
(SOMALIA) (Xinhua) -- People fetch water from
a hole in a riverbed as some return after fetching water
to the internal displaced person (IDP) camp at Doolow, a
border town with Ethiopia, Somalia, March 19, 2017. A
massive increase in humanitarian assistance is urgently
needed to avert a famine, with humanitarian agencies
estimating that 6.2 million drought-affected Somalis are
in need of assistance, including food, water and
sanitation, health and nutrition, protection and
shelter. Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed also
declared drought, which has been ravaging the Horn of
Africa nation, a national disaster last month.
UN approves 22 million USD to
prevent famine in Somalia
(Xinhua) -- The UN has approved an emergency loan of
22 million U.S. dollars to scale up its activities in
drought-hit regions of Somalia.
The Central Emergency Response Fund
(CERF) will release the funds to the Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) to increase livelihoods support to rural
communities affected by repeated drought.
“FAO’s action aims to increase rural
livelihood support and restore food production, while
ensuring that families meet their immediate food and water
needs,” FAO said in a statement issued on Tuesday evening.
CERF complements the loans already
provided by FAO’s Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation
“This effort is part of the
international response to prevent another famine in Somalia
five years after the previous one devastated the country,”
Across Somalia, 6.2 million people
will face acute food insecurity through June. Of them, nearly 3
million are facing Crisis (Phase 3) and Emergency (Phase 4) of
the five-phase International Phase Classification for Food
Stephen O’Brien, head of the UN’s
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA),
Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator,
said he was releasing the loan from CERF to FAO “as part of
the efforts to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Somalia.”
O’Brien said over 2.9 million people
are at risk of famine and many will predictably die from hunger
if the world does not act now.
Most of the 6.2 million people facing
acute food insecurity live in Somalia’s rural areas where hunger
levels have spiked primarily due to losses in crop and livestock
production and other sources of food and income caused by