Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya have each in turn raised the alarm as the Horn of Africa experiences its third consecutive year of drought.
The World Food Programme reports that the region is facing its driest conditions since 1981 and estimates that between 12 and 14 million people in the region will be facing severe hunger in the first quarter of 2022.
Three consecutive years of below average rainfall have decimated crops and caused abnormally high livestock deaths. A special report of the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group found that in 2021, 22.3 million people were already highly food insecure, a situation which represented a 77 percent increase relative to peak levels in 2020.
In the period from October to December 2021, the poor performance of the ‘short rains’ season constitutes the third successive failure of seasonal rains. Historically, consecutive below average rainfall seasons are highly correlated with declines in food security.
In Somalia, a humanitarian assessment conducted by Save The Children noted that 1.8 million people face severe food insecurity and at least one third of households included at least one person going without food for a 24 hour period. More than 700,000 camels, goats, sheep and cattle died over a two-month period in October and November last year.
A Somali NGO consortium released a joint statement to the donor community on the 1st of February, calling on donors to urgently fund the Somali drought crisis and noting that current commitments stand at only 2% of funding requirements.
In southern Ethiopia, prolonged droughts are affecting some 6.8 million people, and livestock losses of 172,000 were reported in December and 260,000 in January.
According to the United Nations, around 2.9 million people in eastern Kenya are in urgent need of aid, and more than half a million people are malnourished.