Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

Millions facing severe hunger in Horn of Africa - U.N. food agency

A woman drives a herd of cattle to a river side in Adadle district, Biyolow Kebele in Somali region of Ethiopia, in this undated handout photograph. World Food Programme/Handout via REUTERS

The U.N. World Food Programme said on Tuesday that 13 million people across the Horn of Africa face severe hunger, calling for immediate assistance to avoid a repeat of a famine a decade ago that killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Three failed rainy seasons have created the driest conditions since the 1980s, with forecasts of below-average rainfall set to increase suffering in the coming months.

"Harvests are ruined, livestock are dying, and hunger is growing as recurrent droughts affect the Horn of Africa," said Michael Dunford, Regional Director in the WFP Regional Bureau for Eastern Africa.

Residents attempt to assist a cow affected by the effects of the drought situation in Adadle district, Biyolow Kebele in Somali region of Ethiopia, in this undated handout photograph. Michael Tewelde/World Food Programme/Handout via REUTERS

The conditions have decimated livestock, forcing thousands in a region where many are pastoralists into displacement camps.

"We never experienced this before, we only see dust storms now. We are afraid that they will cover us all and become our graveyard," said Mohamed Adem from the Somali region of Ethiopia in a WFP video.

Aerial footage taken nearby showed vast dusty scrubland strewn with cattle carcasses. In Kebele village, people tied ropes beneath the torso of a thin cow to raise it to its feet.

Cattle affected by the effects of the drought situation eat fodder in an open field in Adadle district, Biyolow Kebele in Somali region of Ethiopia, in this undated handout photograph. Michael Tewelde/World Food Programme/Handout via REUTERS

Ethiopian government spokesperson Legesse Tulu did not immediately respond to a request for comment on WFP's statement.

The drought is also hitting parts of Kenya and south-central Somalia. Between 2010 and 2012, around 250,000 people died of hunger in Somalia, half of them children.

WFP, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020, is launching its regional response plan for the Horn of Africa this week and calling for $327 million to meet the immediate needs of 4.5 million people.

Farmers walk in a plantation in Adadle district, Biyolow Kebele in Somali region of Ethiopia, in this undated handout photograph. World Food Programme/Handout via REUTERS

(Reporting by Emma Farge; additional reporting by Maggie Fick; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

World Food Programme (WFP) staff engages with the local community and beneficiaries of their programme in Wajir, northeastern Kenya, December 2, 2021. World Food Programme/Handout via REUTERS
Mahadha Ibrahim Abdi, 30, feeds a goat outside her house, amidst the the lack of grazing lands in Wajir, northeastern Kenya, December 2, 2021. World Food Programme/Handout via REUTERS
Related Stories
13 million people face severe hunger in Horn of Africa, UN warns
Drought conditions have left an estimated 13 million people facing severe hunger in the Horn of Africa, according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
From analysis to the latest developments in health, read the most diverse news in one place.
UN: 13 million people face severe hunger in Horn of Africa
Drought conditions have left an estimated 13 million people facing severe hunger in the Horn of Africa, according to the United Nations World Food Program
Somaliland pitches 'huge' oil and gas potential during Taiwan trip
Somaliland has "huge" investment potential in untapped oil and gas reserves, the foreign minister of Somalia's breakaway region told Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday, pitching investment opportunities on a high-profile visit.
Fighting in Ethiopia's Afar region displaces 300,000, aid blocked to Tigray
The government of Ethiopia's Afar region says more than 300,000 people have been displaced by warfare there since December and it accused Tigrayan forces of killing civilians and looting.
No perfect solution: Africa's smallholder farmers must use both traditional and new practices
As an agricultural and environmental scientist, I’ve worked for decades exploring the practical challenges that smallholder farmers encounter in East Africa. These include controlling weeds that can choke their crops and looking for new ways to deal with pests or diseases that threaten their harvests.
One place to find news on any topic, from hundreds of sites.
Vigilantism in Nigeria: a way to combat crime if it's non-violent and regulated
Worsening crime and violence in sub-Saharan Africa is placing increasing demands on police in the region.