Horn of Africa faces ‘catastrophic’ food insecurity in decades, warns WHO |

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More than 37 million people face acute hunger, with around seven million children under five suffering from acute malnutrition in the region.

While finding food and clean water is the top priority, the WHO said that ensure a strong response to health emergencies is necessary to prevent preventable illness and death.

The UN agency calls for $123.7 million to meet the growing health needs and prevent a food crisis from turning into a health crisis.

“The situation is already catastrophic, and We must act nowsaid Ibrahima Soce Fall, WHO Assistant Director General for Emergency Response. “We cannot continue in this underfunding crisis.”

severe drought

The Horn of Africa includes Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya.

Climate change, conflict, rising food prices and the COVID-19 pandemic have worsened one of the region’s worst droughts in decades, WHO calls on

“There are now four seasons where the rain has not come as expected and it is estimated that a fifth season will also fail. Where there is drought the problem keeps getting worse,” said Sophie Maes, incident manager at WHO.

“In other places like South Sudan, there have been three consecutive years of flooding, with almost 40% of the country inundated. And we’re looking at something that’s will get worse in the near future.”

IOM

Thousands of animals have perished due to the extreme drought that is ravaging Somalia and the rest of the Horn of Africa.

hunger crisis

More than 37 million people in the region are expected to reach the third level of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC3) scale and above in the coming months.

This means that the population is in crisis and is only marginally able to meet minimum food needs by exhausting essential livelihoods or through crisis coping strategies.

The effects of the drought are particularly severe in eastern and southern Ethiopia, eastern and northern Kenya, and southern and central Somalia.

Food insecurity in South Sudan has reached the most extreme levels since independence in 2011, with 8.3 million people, or 75% of the population, facing severe food insecurity.

Cost of inaction

According to the WHO, acute malnutrition leads to increased migration as people move in search of food and pasture.

And disruptions often lead to deteriorating hygiene and sanitation, as outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as cholera, measles and malaria, are already on the rise.

In addition, low vaccination coverage and poorly resourced health services could lead to a general increase in the number of epidemics in the country and across borders.

The care of severely malnourished children with medical complications will be badly affected and result in high infant mortality rates.

Disruptions in access to health care can further increase morbidity and mortality, as emergency conditions force populations to change their care-seeking behavior and prioritize access to life-saving resources such as food and water.

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