Another Failed Rainy Season Spells Disaster in the Horn of Africa

4 min read

November 20, 2022


With the 2022 October-December rainy season predicted to fail, food insecurity in the Horn of Africa will rise in the months ahead. Affected countries, including Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya, are already facing huge food shortages, which will only worsen. According to the Food, Security, and Nutrition Working Group, 23 and 26 million people will suffer acute food insecurity in this region over the next couple of months.

“An alarmingly high number of children are suffering the consequences of poor diet and a food system thatis failing them.” UNICEF Report on Food and Nutrition

The Impact of Continued Drought

In the past 10 years, the Horn of Africa has suffered from three severe droughts: 2010-2011, 2016-2017, and2020-2022. The frequency and severity of these droughts have made it harder for families to recover in between.This has had severe implications for entire communities and has increased displacements.Millions are leaving their homes searching for food, water, pasture for their animals, and alternate livelihoods.As a result, inter-communal conflicts have increased with the rising pressure on already limited basic servicesin areas where people have relocated.

UN and WHO Predictions

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the WHO has made the following predictions:

  1. A Rise in Hunger and Malnutrition

The numbers are scary – 6.7 million people in Somalia, 9.9 million Ethiopians, and 4.35 million in Kenya facestarvation. This includes 2.2 million children in Ethiopia, about 900,000 in Kenya, and 1.8 million in Somalia.While the immediate impact of famine means hunger, the long-term impact of malnutrition on a whole generation ofchildren will be felt for years to come.

  1. Loss of Livestock

Almost 9 million farm animals, which pastoralists rely on for their sustenance and livelihoods, will be lost bythe end of the year. This translates to 120 million litres of milk and 1.6 million children having to gowithout.A pastoralist takes approximately five years to rebuild his herd after a drought. But with continued droughtsleading to famine, many people have to leave pastoralism altogether, without an alternate source of food orincome.

  1. Lack of Water

Currently, more than 16.2 million people cannot access sufficient water for drinking, cooking, and cleaningacross the Horn of Africa, which will worsen. Many water sources have dried up completely or have reduced outputand quality. The risk of water-borne disease and skin and eye infections increases as families are forced toration water use and prioritise drinking and cooking over hygiene.

  1. Risk of Disease and Devastating Outcomes for Health

Malnutrition increases the likelihood of people falling sick as inadequate nutrition (in terms of quality andquantity) directly impacts immune systems. This is especially true for children and pregnant or lactating women.Sick people also become malnourished more easily.Also, as food prices rise, families must choose between food and healthcare. People either don’t seek treatmentor discontinue treatment, including for HIV. Moreover, displacement heightens the risk of exposure because ofcompromised living conditions and also has the potential of spreading diseases.

  1. Gender-Based Violence and Inequality

Already the drought has had devastating consequences for women and children, which is likely to worsen. Women andgirls are forced to walk much longer distances to find water. They become more vulnerable to exploitation andabuse. For example, Somalia saw a 20% increase in incidences of violence and rape between January and May 2022by the GBV Incident Management System (GBVIMS), which was linked to the drought.

  1. Education Catastrophe

The drought has created an education crisis by disrupting the education of children in the region. It isestimated that 1.7 million children in Somalia, 482,000 children in Ethiopia, and almost 100,000 in Kenya havehad their schooling interrupted because of drought conditions. Approximately half of these children riskdropping out unless urgent action is taken. Necessary measures include providing school supplies, school meals,and safe and sufficient water to allow schools.

Africa Relief Fund (ARF) Interventions

ARF is on the ground running emergency relief projects in several countries across the Horn of Africa. We areprioritising the urgent need for food, water, and healthcare to try and avert a humanitarian catastrophe.Our teams are working to source and distribute emergency supplies to camps and displaced communities. But theglobal economic crisis, increased regional conflicts, and rising food prices have made it more challenging torespond. Still, we’re determined to save as many lives as we can. And our staff are working tirelessly tosupport affected communities who rely on us as we prepare for the difficult months ahead.Can you support our work? Help vulnerable and desperate people facing starvation. Read more about our Horn of Africa Appeal and donate here .

Join Us on Our Journey to Make a Difference in the World

African Relief Fund is looking for ways to expand its ways to gather donations for aid projects in African communities. But we need your Help. Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of unprivileged people in Africa and give them the chance they deserve.

Donate Now and Make a World a Better Place!

Your donation will reach people who are in dire need of it through our several emergency aid projects.

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