Washington, D.C. — Sixteen international organizations have joined forces to warn, once again, of the already dire and deteriorating food security crisis in the eastern Horn of Africa.
On Monday, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) was among a consortium of food security organizations that issued a new Joint Statement urging the humanitarian community to immediately increase funding for the Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia drought response.
Record-breaking levels of acute food insecurity are being recorded across the region, which has experienced a relentless series of droughts over the last two years. Another poor rainy season is expected in the remaining months of 2022, and forecasts now indicate a significant likelihood that the March-to-May 2023 rainy season will also be below-average.
“We are already witnessing a poor start to the current rainy season in the Horn, and FEWS NET scientists have compared model forecasts of Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures with previous years to warn that we may well see another failed rainy season in 2023,” FEWS NET Team Leader Kiersten Johnson said.“Even if the March-to-May rainy season performs well, it will take years for impacted communities in the eastern Horn to recover from the damage that has already been done over the past two years of drought.”
According to the Joint Statement, 20.9 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are acutely food insecure. Increases in child deaths have been observed across the region, and 7.46 million children under the age of five are estimated to face acute malnutrition. The drought is also contributing to significant health risks, including multiple ongoing disease outbreaks.
“We do not need to wait for a formal Famine declaration in any of these countries to warrant action,” Johnson said.“Millions of peoples’ lives are already at risk. Lives will continue to be lost and people will continue to suffer if the drought response continues to be underfunded.”
Famine Early Warning Systems Network