The United Nations and humanitarian organizations warned on Tuesday that millions of people in the Horn of Africa are facing catastrophic famine as the worst drought in more than 40 years threatens to continue to a fifth straight failed rainy season.
They added in a joint statement that the March-May rainy season is expected to be the driest on record, destroying livelihoods and exacerbating a humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia, Somalia, and portions of Kenya, including a danger of famine in Somalia.
There’s a chance that the rainy season in October and December may also fail.
According to the statement, 16.7 million people in east Africa are presently suffering from severe food insecurity, with that number expected to rise to 20 million by September.
“East Africa is on the verge of famine. This comes after four failed rainy-day attempts “World Meteorological Organization representative Clare Nullis said.
“We are particularly worried that the situation is likely to deteriorate,” she said during a Geneva press conference.
Aid organizations are working to prevent a repetition of a famine that killed hundreds of thousands of people a decade ago.
The United Nations and its agencies said in a joint statement that “rapid scaling up of operations is required today to save lives and avoid famine and death.”
“However, present drought relief pleas are severely underfunded.”
Millions of animals have perished in the region, and Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya have seen a considerable increase in the number of critically malnourished children hospitalized for treatment this year compared to previous years, according to the report.