Africa’s IGAD bloc seeks support to feed millions amid severe drought

Members of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a regional bloc that includes Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, southern Sudan, Sudan and Uganda, met in Nairobi on Tuesday to discuss humanitarian, political and security issues in the region.

The humanitarian situation that has left food insecurity in more than 23 million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia has been at the center of IGAD’s 39th Heads of State and Government Meeting. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the countries in the region should combat the drought situation.

“The drought, the worst in 40 years, has exacerbated food insecurity, depleted water resources and displaced people, raising tensions that could lead to new conflicts,” Kenyatta said. “We must urgently manage the drought before it becomes a threat multiplier.”

Some parts of the region had four consecutive seasons without rain, forcing millions to move in search of food, water and grazing. Sudan’s leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said the drought was affecting the region and people’s lives greatly.

“If we do not deal with the drought situation, it will be the worst we have seen in 40 years,” the leader said. “Drought kills our people and livestock. The drought has also become a reason for us under development. ”

Nunay Mohamed, 25, who fled the drought-stricken Lower Shabelle area, is holding her one-year-old malnourished child on June 30, 2022, at a temporary camp for displaced people on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia.  Somalia is perhaps the most vulnerable.  while thousands die of starvation amid the driest drought in decades.

Nunay Mohamed, 25, who fled the drought-stricken Lower Shabelle area, is holding her one-year-old malnourished child on June 30, 2022, at a temporary camp for displaced people on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. Somalia is perhaps the most vulnerable. while thousands die of starvation amid the driest drought in decades.

Experts predict that the region may not get rain between October and December. Amina Abdulla is the Regional Director for the Horn of Africa at Concern Worldwide, an Irish humanitarian agency. She recently warned that without urgent humanitarian aid to millions, the region runs the risk of losing 350,000 children to starvation. In Somalia, eight areas are starving and at least 200,000 children have died from malnutrition since January.

Climate change and conflict are also blamed on the region’s food insecurity. Bankole Adeoye, the African Union’s commissioner for political affairs, peace and security, assured the IGAD members of the bloc’s support to mitigate the effects of the drought.

“The humanitarian situation, further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the drought experienced in many parts of the region, is worrying and the African Union promises African solidarity and collective responsibility,” said Adeoye. . “It is for all of us to continue to fight the glaring effect of climate change in the world today. The African Union is ready to mobilize African and international partners to combat this scourge and to promote sustainable growth and development. ”

Humanitarian agencies estimate 5 million children in the Horn of Africa region are malnourished, with 30 percent experiencing severe malnutrition. The European Union Ambassador to Kenya, Henriette Geiger, told IGAD leaders that efforts were being made to obtain much-needed food from Ukraine.

“The security situation in the region is exacerbated by unprecedented drought in the Horn and by Russian aggression, which has caused the global food crisis,” Geiger said. “In Europe, we are working with the UN to transport grain from Ukraine and the European Union, and its member states have promised more than 630 million euros. [$648 million] recently to strengthen food systems and resilience here in the Horn of Africa. ”

The United Nations says it needs at least $ 4.4 billion to provide assistance by next month. But the donor support did not reach the targets.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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