The Stream

Why is severe drought again ravaging the Horn of Africa?

On Monday, February 14 at 19:30 GMT:
More than 13 million people in the Horn of Africa are once more facing severe hunger due to an ongoing drought, the World Food Programme says.

Pastoral and farmer populations across southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, south-eastern and northern Kenya and south-central Somalia are facing the region’s worst drought in forty years, spurred by the failure of three straight rainy seasons.

Farmers are losing livestock to starvation as crops die. And the dire lack of water and pasture is forcing families to leave their homes, triggering resentment between communities that sometimes escalates into direct conflict.

Inflation is pushing up the price of staple foods, in another challenge to drought-affected communities. In Ethiopia, more than 6 million people will require urgent humanitarian assistance by mid-March, according to the UN. In Somalia, over 7 million people need urgent aid.

The World Food Programme is calling for $327 million to meet the immediate needs of 4.5 million people over the next six months and to help build communities’ resilience to extreme weather events driven by climate change. UNICEF is appealing for $123 million to support children and their families til the end of June 2022.

The region is also reeling from locust invasions and outbreaks of COVID-19. Farmers had little time to recover from a previous drought in 2011 before the current one began.

In this episode we’ll look at the effects of the drought on affected people, its impact on regional stability, and ask who should step up for a long term solution.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Esther Ngumbi, @EstherNgumbi
Food security expert

Nimo Hassan, @NimoA_Hassan
Director, Somali NGO Consortium

Rania Dagash, @UNICEF
Regional Director, UNICEF