Prolonged drought is causing a widespread hunger crisis across East African countries. Somalia, South Sudan and parts of Ethiopia and Kenya are the worst affected.
The numbers of people exposed to severe food shortages and hunger are stark and difficult to process. However, with a strong, unified effort, governments and NGOs could deliver the support needed to prevent widespread famine.
1. Over 20 million people in the region are experiencing ‘severe food insecurity’ according to UN estimates. And this is set to rise even further, following a poor March to May rainy season.
2. 6.2 million Somalis, half the population, are experiencing severe food insecurity. The conditions are being compared to 2010-11, when famine took the lives of 250,000 people there.
3. 5.5 million South Sudanese are expected to be in need of urgent food support by the height of the ‘hungry season’ in July. 100,000 people are facing starvation in parts of South Sudan where famine has officially been declared. An additional one million people are on the brink of famine.
4. 5.6 million Ethiopians require emergency food assistance in southern Ethiopia, in addition to the 7 million who are already receiving government support.
5. 2.7 million Kenyans are in need of emergency support. A national disaster has been declared in Kenya, with the government appealing for international assistance.
Trócaire’s response in the region
Trócaire is engaged in a major humanitarian response in East Africa.
In Somalia, we are focused on healthcare and tackling outbreaks of potentially lethal cholera and acute watery diarrhoea.
Trócaire has a strong, long-established presence in the Gedo region in southern Somalia.
We currently fund and run three hospitals, 10 primary health units and four health centres there.
We are also supplying clean water to 15 schools and three hospitals in the region.
We are working in partnership with other international NGOs in the country to deliver large-scale nutrition support to malnourished children, and pregnant and nursing women.
In South Sudan, Trócaire is providing monthly food rations to 12,000 of the most vulnerable people in Adior and Pagarau Counties of Yirol East State.
We are hoping to reach more people in the coming months with food aid and cash transfers, as well as repairing water boreholes in the East Lakes State.
In Ethiopia, Trócaire is currently providing food aid and support to help preserve livelihoods to 58,500 of the most vulnerable individuals (9,765 households).
And in Kenya, we are currently trucking water to six schools in Barpello, East Pokot (Baringo County), as well as delivering supplementary feeding for 2,000 children in three medical units in Loima, Turkana County. We are working to secure funds to scale up our response in the country.