Warning over hunger crisis gets louder in East African countries

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By Mbafan Ade –

Despite regional administrations’ best attempts to attain food security through sophisticated plans and regulations, the region continues to be food insecure.

Drought, insufficient rainfall, violence, locust invasion, and the repercussions of Covid-19 have all delayed agricultural activities in Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Somalia, which are all confronting varied levels of food insecurity.

According to the Relief Web’s East Africa Food Security Outlook from June to January 2022, food assistance requirements in Somalia, southern and southeastern Ethiopia, and northern and eastern Kenya will remain high and above average until at least early 2022.

These issues came up at the annual Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) summit held on September 7 to 10 in Nairobi. The summit focused on accelerating progress in the development of resilient food systems in the region and the continent.

The Tigray region in Ethiopia will face severe food shortages due to the almost one year of conflict, while in the eastern Horn and northern Uganda many households have already lost food and incomes due to the impact of irregular rainfall on crop and livestock production in early-to-mid 2021.

According to the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 2.1 million people in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya are severely food insecure, following two consecutive seasons of poor rains, which have hampered crop production.

Limited access to food — aggravated by the loss of income and closure of markets in some counties due to Covid-19 — has left over 532,000 children under five years and 93,300 pregnant or lactating women in urgent need of treatment for acute malnutrition.

From January to July, humanitarian organizations in Kenya reached 491,000 people with critical assistance, including food and agricultural inputs, treatment for acute malnutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as health, education and protection services.

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