A prolonged, multi-season drought is taking acute food insecurity across the Horn of Africa, with millions of people on the verge of starvation. The situation is further worsened by escalating conflicts over competition for water & pasture, the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequences of a large-scale desert locust invasion, the first in 70 years.
Like the rest of the nations in the Horn of Africa, Kenya is facing the third severe La Nina-induced drought episode in ten years. The country’s northern region is comprised of 23 arid & semi-arid nations, where, as per the latest Short Rains Assessment, an estimated 3.1 million people are in acute food insecurity and in requirement of humanitarian assistance due to the poor performance of the rains during October-December 2021. If humanitarian aid is not urgently scaled up, about 3.5 million people are expected to verge severe food
FAO and its partners have recently warned that in a worst-case scenario in which rains completely fail in the coming months and agriculture-dependent communities do not receive urgent support, the number of highly food insecure people could rise further-with some worst-affected households facing catastrophic hunger conditions.
The Government of Belgium has contributed $500,000 to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to save the lives and livelihoods of farmers as well as pastoralists severely affected by drought in the northern region of Kenya. FAO in Kenya Representative, Carla Mucavi explained the funds as vital, coming at a critical time as the nation responds to the drought emergency.
FAO will support 2,400 vulnerable households to access food and other basic goods and services, including water and feed for animals, irrigation, veterinary services, and training, while protecting and restoring productive livelihoods and building back self-reliance in drought-affected communities.
Belgium’s generous support represents an essential contribution to FAO’s Horn of Africa Drought Response Plan, calling for over USD 138 million to help rural communities cope with the looming impacts of drought on agricultural productivity, rural livelihoods and food security in 2022.