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Millions in East Africa need urgent aid due to drought

21 December 2021 - 21:05 By Fasika Tadesse and Eric Ombok
Millions of people in East Africa are in need of urgent humanitarian aid thanks to a drought that has ravaged the region.
Millions of people in East Africa are in need of urgent humanitarian aid thanks to a drought that has ravaged the region.
Image: Baz Ratner/Reuters

Millions of people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are in dire need of humanitarian assistance thanks to a drought that’s killed hundreds of thousands of cattle and damaged crops. 

As many as 10-million people are affected and delayed rains will further worsen the situation, according to authorities.

“Currently 3.4-million people are in need of emergency aid and the figure could rise until April,” Bashir Arab, early warning coordinator at the Somali Region Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau in Ethiopia, said by phone. 

Humanitarian agencies, federal and local authorities are working together to raise as much as $57m (R905m) in emergency funds, he said.

Neighbouring Kenya declared a drought in parts of the country a national disaster in September, while arid and semi-arid regions have been hit by the late onset of October to December rains. That has resulted in the non-germination of crops and forced farmers to replant.

The body condition of most livestock in the nation is below normal compared with earlier years and milk production is lower than average, according to the drought management agency.

Farmlands across the region have also been ravaged by a desert locust infestation over the past two years. The pest remains a threat in Northern Kenya, parts of Ethiopia and Somalia. 

More than 2.5-million people are experiencing food insecurity in Kenya. The government is providing mobile-money cash transfer to about 360,000 households affected by the drought.

Bloomberg. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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