Country-By-Country Guide to Worsening Drought in Horn of Africa

Hammered by four droughts in a row, as many as 17 million people are going hungry in three countries in the Horn of Africa, with aid agencies warning that the hardest-hit areas are threatened by famine.

In the arid pastoralist regions of southern Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and much of Somalia, the lack of water and pasture has killed millions of animals that herders rely on for their livelihoods. That has left households destitute, with deaths among the most vulnerable, especially young children.

Worse is on the way. The La Niña weather system that has caused an unprecedented four consecutive droughts across the region is still in effect. There is now a "concrete risk" that the October to December rains will fail once again - propelling the disaster to a whole new level.

Conflict and political instability are exacerbating the impact of climate shocks in the region. In Somalia, the jihadist group al-Shabab controls much of the countryside and is hostile to Western aid agencies. Fear of falling foul of international anti-terror legislation acts as an additional barrier to foreign aid operations.

Ethiopia is facing two food emergencies - one is the conflict in the north - which has left more than nine million people in Tigray, Afar, and Amhara in need. The other is the drought in the eastern and southern lowlands, affecting 6.8 million people.

More than four million people - a quarter of the population in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of north and eastern Kenya - are acutely food insecure. Numbers in need could rise to five million as conditions deteriorate, reports Obi Anyadike for The New Humanitarian.

InFocus

Abdel Mohammed from Isiolo in northern Kenya, has lost 150 animals to drought and tit-for-tat raids by neighbouring communities (file photo).

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