Tuesday, July 19, 2022

The African Drought

 While Europe swelters under an unprecedented heatwave, making daily life intolerable, in the Horn of Africa, a persistent prolonged drought is making life unliveable.

Four consecutive rainy seasons have failed. Water wells have dried up, crops have withered and millions of livestock have died, resulting in mass displacement.

“The impact of the drought on children is devastating,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director for Emergency Operations. “In Somali region alone, over 900,000 people have been displaced. Drought not only means lack of water. It means that children are going hungry and thirsty every day. They are forced to walk miles in search of food and water and often they have to drink from contaminated water sources. This leads to malnutrition and other killer preventable diseases like diarrhea.”

“This climate-induced crisis is a malnutrition crisis for children and not just in Ethiopia but across Africa,” said Fontaine. 

Malnutrition rates are increasing at an alarming rate due to the drought. Across the four drought-impacted regions, an estimated 600,000 children will require treatment for severe acute malnutrition by the end of the year. 

In the Somali region, there has been a 43 per cent increase in severely acute malnutrition admissions for under 5 children in May 2022 compared to May 2021.

 The side-effect of the war in Ukraine is also set to tip more families in Africa over the edge and will exacerbate food insecurity with increasing fuel prices and reduced availability of wheat imports. Ethiopia imports 67 per cent of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine.

“This means prices of cooking oil, bread and wheat flour are reaching new records in local markets and even families not living in humanitarian crisis cannot meet their daily food needs.” said Fontaine.

UNICEF Emergency Director, Manuel Fontaine, visits drought stricken Somali region and calls for an immediate scaled up humanitarian response to save millions of children - Ethiopia | ReliefWeb

No comments: