On Friday, March 10, 2023, the World Health Organization warned that about 129,000 people have reached the limit of food insecurity and face the risk of death in the greater Horn of Africa, which has been experiencing terrible drought for several years.
“When I talk about the Greater Horn of Africa, I refer to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda,” Lisbeth Albrecht, WHO regional official, said in a video conference from Nairobi.
She added that in this region, “we see a resurgence of epidemics and the highest number of children suffering from malnutrition in years, affecting millions of people, in a context of deteriorating prospects in terms of food insecurity.”
According to the World Health Organization, about 48 million people face a critical level of food insecurity in the region.
Of these 48 million people, six million are in “emergency” food insecurity (IPC phase 4) and 129,000 are in “catastrophe” (phase 5), which is the maximum level.
The World Health Organization said that people classified in the fifth stage “face death.”
Among the 129,000, there are 33,000 in southern Sudan and 96,000 in Somalia, according to Albrecht.
According to the Center for Climate Outlook and Applications of IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development), the East African Community, the current conditions are worse than they were before the 2011 drought, which led to famine that caused the death of thousands of people.
This region is among the most vulnerable to climate change with increasingly frequent and severe crises.
Five consecutive seasons of no rain so far have killed millions of livestock, destroyed crops and prompted millions of people to leave their areas in search of water and food elsewhere.
The World Health Organization said that this food insecurity was behind the increase in epidemics such as measles, dengue fever, cholera and malaria, noting that it needed 178 million dollars to support the population of the region this year.
“Never in this century has the Horn of Africa seen so many epidemics,” Albrecht said, emphasizing the link between the increase in epidemics and climate change.
“As climate change becomes a reality, these shocks will become more frequent, and what we need is large-scale and sustained humanitarian assistance, with long-term investments, to enhance current surveillance” of diseases, in order to stop them at the first signs, she added.