East Africa: Millions Starving in Worst East Africa Drought Crisis

Nairobi — A major emergency in the Horn of Africa where 13 million people face critical levels of hunger following a succession of failed rains.

Half of the affected people are children, with the region is now experiencing the lowest cumulative rainfall totals since 1981.

Despite efforts by aid agencies and the governments of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, the hunger situation is rapidly worsening.

Ethiopia is the worst affected as 8,1 million people are in dire need of food assistance.

In Kenya, an estimated 2,6 million people face acute food insecurity while Somalia 2,1 million Somalis face a similar severe crisis.

Save the Children is concerned at the risk of spiking malnutrition.

Ian Vale, the organisation's regional director, urged the international community to step up in order to avert mass displacement and loss of human life.

"Over the past year we have repeatedly called for a dramatic increase in funding, and to date, this has largely fallen on deaf ears," Vale said.

Across the Horn of Africa, Save the Children needs an additional US$100 million (R1,485 billion) to meet people's daily nutritional requirements, lifesaving health provision.

Vale said the current funding gap and the failure of the international community to step up had created the conditions for this emergency.

Also, the impact of climate change on the lives of Ethiopians, Kenyans and Somalis is becoming more intense every year.

"We cannot expect children and their families in this poverty-stricken region to bear the impact of the climate crisis," Vale said.

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