1. Agriculture World

Drought Pushed 3.5 million Kenyans to the Brink of Starvation, says IGAD

Ethiopia has 6 to 6.5 million people, Kenya has 3.5 million, and Somalia has 6 million. The situation in Somalia's southern-central region is dire, with 81,000 people facing famine. As a result of the drought, 15.5 to 16 million people are in need of immediate food assistance.

Shivam Dwivedi
Drought in Kenya
Drought in Kenya

According to Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu, at least 3.5 Kenyans are facing starvation as a result of the severe drought in the Horn of Africa. The first month of the March to May 2022 season was particularly dry, according to the IGAD's Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC).

"The rains in March, April, and May are critical for the region, and unfortunately, we are looking at not just three, but potentially four consecutive failed seasons," Gebeyehu said in a press conference on Monday.

"This, combined with other stress factors such as conflicts in both our region and Europe, pandemic's impact, and macroeconomic challenges, has resulted in acute levels of food insecurity across the Greater Horn of Africa," he added.

According to the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group, which is co-chaired by IGAD and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), over 29 million people in the IGAD region are food insecure.

"As a result of the drought, 15.5 to 16 million of our sisters and brothers are in need of immediate food assistance." Ethiopia has 6 to 6.5 million people, Kenya has 3.5 million, and Somalia has 6 million.

The situation in Somalia's southern-central region is dire, with 81,000 people facing famine, according to Gebeyehu.

"The severe shortages in water and pasture are leading to smaller food production, significant losses in livestock and wildlife, and a rise in the resource-based conflict in the region," said ICPAC Director Guleid Artan, who also spoke.

He expressed concern that the situation might deteriorate in the months ahead. "Climate shocks keep resurfacing. To build long-term resilience across the region, we must invest in adaptation," she stated.

Casazza reiterated UNDP's call for countries in the Global North to "honour their commitment to climate finance: $100 billion to assist developing countries in adapting to the climate emergency."

To address Kenya's drought situation, the government has announced that close to 108,000 poor and vulnerable households in drought-prone areas will continue to receive regular cash transfers every two months. As part of the measures to combat severe drought among poor and vulnerable families, the government has promised to continue disbursing funds to four arid counties.

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