70 million hit by extreme food shortages

February 16, 2017

70 million hit by extreme food shortages

Extreme food shortages are occurring across a number of African countries, with large areas of East Africa worst affected.

Tabu Ruth at Bidi Bidi refugee camp

 
South Sudanese refugee Tabu Ruth brings water to her father outside the family’s new home in Bidi Bidi camp in Uganda. Photo by Tommy Trenchard for Caritas.

The severity and scale of the crisis is unprecedented in recent decades. 

Conflict and drought have combined to leave 17 million people in East Africa alone requiring immediate emergency food aid.

The two worst affected countries in the region are Somalia and South Sudan, but parts of Ethiopia and Kenya are also badly hit.

How bad the situation gets will largely depend on whether the rains come over the next few weeks. However, even if they do come, there will still be a five month gap when people have little or nothing to eat before the next harvest.

How did it get this bad?

Ongoing conflict in South Sudan and Somalia has displaced millions of people and severely disrupted the food system.

Climate change is also a huge factor. The region is experiencing a prolonged drought due to the failure of rainy seasons. Without the rain, crops have not grown.

South Sudan – one in three people left hungry

Over 4.5 million people in South Sudan will require emergency food aid over the coming months. As it stands, one in every three people in the country does not have enough food.

An estimated 675,000 people are currently classified as being in emergency.

Somalia – a repeat of 2011?

Over 5 million people in Somalia are in need of emergency aid. The situation threatens a repeat of 2011, when a famine in the country cost the lives of 250,000 people.

At the moment, 320,000 children under age five are acutely malnourished, of which 50,000 are severely malnourished.

What is Trócaire doing?

Trócaire has teams working in all four affected countries – South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. We are bringing emergency food aid into the worst-hit communities and helping people to survive the current crisis.

As needs grow, we want to expand our emergency aid projects.

You can help us donating today