Relief chief stresses need for urgent support as millions grapple with drought in Horn of Africa — Global Affairs

The drought follows four consecutive failed rainy seasons, and the fear is that the number could rise to 20 million if the current below-average rains fail.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Griffiths was in the region this week on a two-day mission to Kenya to raise awareness of this climate-induced emergency, occurring at a time when global attention is focused on numerous crises. .

Last month, it released $12 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to respond to the drought, while another $17 million was allocated from the Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund.

Families in poverty

The relief chief was in remote Turkana county in northern Kenya on Thursday to show solidarity with local communities and stress the need for more funds and food aid.

The UN and its partners require $480 million to support the humanitarian response through October.

“The world’s attention is elsewhere, and we know that,” he said. “And the misery of the world has not gone away from Turkana. And the world’s rains have not reached Turkana.”

Mr. Griffiths spoke to the Lomoputh families who have nothing left. Their animals have died and there is no way to earn money.

‘Impossible Choices’

Although children can sometimes get food at school, often the only thing available to eat, this requires walking six kilometers to get water for the children to take home.

As a result, mothers are forced to make “impossible decisions,” she said.

“One of them told us that some of them even have children who are of high school age… but to pay the tuition to go to a high school in this area, you have to sell cattle. Sell ​​a goat, like she said. There are no more goats. There are no more cattle. They left.”

Malnutrition and migration

Some 3.5 million people in Kenya are severely food insecure and acute malnutrition rates in some areas are more than double the emergency threshold, according to the UN humanitarian office, OCHA, which Mr Griffiths heads.

In the three countries, approximately 5.7 million children are severely malnourished,

In addition, more than three million head of cattle, on which herding families depend for their livelihood and survival, have died.

Mr. Griffiths wrapped up his mission to Kenya on Friday, meeting virtually with people in the Somali region of Ethiopia.

The severe drought is affecting more than eight million people across the country. More than 7.2 million need food aid and some four million need water assistance.

At least 286,000 people have migrated in search of water, pasture or assistance, but others, often elderly or infirm, have been left behind.

In a post on Twitter, Mr. Griffiths urged the international community not to ignore the rapidly escalating crisis in the Horn of Africa.

“We need urgent action to help these communities survive now, and more investment in their ability to withstand future shocks,” he said. wrote. “We have to give them a future.”

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