9 June 2017

East Africa: UN Migration Agency Launches U.S.$60 Million Appeal for Famine-Struck East, Horn of Africa

The United Nations migration agency today appealed for some $60 million to aid an estimated 16 million people suffering from the worst drought seek in decades in East and Horn of Africa.

"In the coming months, we are likely to see many more needing humanitarian aid and being displaced, due to the poor rains," said Jeffrey Labovitz, Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa at the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Through the appeal, IOM said that it intends to target 2 million of the most vulnerable drought-affected people through December of this year in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

The drought is fuelling migration between these borders, particularly from Somalia, and could impact how the people who are moving and the people who are receiving them recover from the drought.

"It is estimated that cross border movements may increase significantly with the predicted poor harvest as a result of below average rains during March-May and the humanitarian response is not scaled up to meet the needs of affected populations," according to the appeal.

The $60,665,000 aid would include a combination of lifesaving and early recover interventions, as well as build long-term capacity to recover. These include shelter, protection, food, water and sanitation.

Mr. Labovitz stressed that due to the "impressive efforts" from local and international actors, the drought has not yet led to a famine as recorded in 2011, but "there is need for sustained funding and international support to mitigate what could still deteriorate."

The current drought has already shown to be different from that in 2011, which was concentrated in South Central Somalia. This year, it is affecting more parts of the country, including the north-eastern and the Somaliland regions, with a higher total number of people at risk.

The drought is affecting the region's main source of water - the river basins.

Over the past six months, severe drought conditions have contributed to the displacement of more than 700,000 people within Somalia alone.

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