A hunger crisis in East Africa is a huge issue, and the reasons behind it are multifaceted. Conflict, El Nino, climate change, and conflict zones all play a role. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions available. Some of them involve working to improve the socioeconomic situation of these countries, and others involve helping the poorest people in the region.
The current El Nino weather pattern is among the most severe on record, and it has caused an intense drought across much of eastern and southern Africa. It has affected about 60 million people, and South Africa and Ethiopia have each declared it to be the worst drought in more than a century. Experts in food security, resilience, and climate change will discuss the scope of the crisis, the impacts, and what can be done to alleviate the suffering.
Ethiopia’s government has allocated $192 million to deal with the crisis. But much more is needed. The country needs more assistance from international donors and the international community. In the meantime, heavy rains are forecast across the country’s low-lying southern and eastern regions. This includes the Shebelle river basin and the easternmost Somali region, where rains could lead to flooding. The floods could result in the destruction of homes, schools, and infrastructure.
Many countries in East Africa are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Over the past decade, Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia have all faced severe droughts, decimating their crops and livestock. The subsequent recovery has been extremely difficult. Add to this the increase in food prices worldwide and you’ve got the recipe for a catastrophic food crisis.
A drought in the region has left people facing extreme hunger and malnourishment. According to the United Nations (UN), around 20 million people in East Africa are at risk of going hungry or suffering from malnutrition. Rising food prices and chronic water shortages have pushed these people to the brink of survival.
Hunger in east Africa has reached unprecedented levels due to a number of factors, including conflict, climate change, and food insecurity. Three years of drought and loss of pastureland for livestock have compounded the problem and led to massive food shortages and economic hardship. Climate change and its consequences have also affected the livelihoods and agriculture in several countries, including Ethiopia. These factors are causing a growing humanitarian crisis and may drive conflict and violence.
The crisis has left many families on the verge of starvation with nowhere else to turn. In addition, violence has displaced people and affected crops and food supplies. The resulting food shortages are forcing many people to flee their homes and turn to humanitarian aid for survival. Malnutrition is also on the rise in many rural areas.
SOS Children’s Villages
Famine is ravaging the region of Mali and the world must act now to save more than one million children. SOS Children’s Villages is helping thousands of children in the worst affected areas of Niger, Mali, and Chad. The crisis has left more than 18 million people hungry. Rising food prices and crop shortages are making the situation worse. There is also an increase in malaria, which is a major threat to thousands of children.
The organization provides basic healthcare for children in over 135 countries around the world. Its Kenya centre also offers cervical cancer screening. It also provides nutritional milk supplements and educates people on how to prevent and treat acute malnutrition.
Diversifying food supply chains
The first step to tackling Africa’s hunger crisis is to diversify food supply chains. As a continent, Africa is a huge importer of food. In 2018, it spent over $47 billion to purchase food on the global market. Ethiopia and Nigeria, for example, increased their food imports by more than 1,000%. The depreciation of several African currencies and the fall in commodity prices are putting pressure on the food security of many countries. As a result, the average Kenyan spends 50% of his or her income on food, and Nigerians spend 56% of their incomes on food.
The region’s food security outlook is also threatened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which will cut off major grain supplies. Kenya and Eritrea source nearly all of their wheat imports from the Ukraine, and the World Food Program buys more than half of their wheat from this region. The invasion will further squeeze these supply chains, and prices will rise. This will make food transportation in the region increasingly expensive.
The East Africa Hunger Relief Fund is a project of GlobalGiving, which works to provide life-saving aid to communities facing a hunger crisis. This fund provides food and sanitation assistance to people at risk of starvation.