Caritas Africa appeals for urgent action to address drought and famine in Africa.
Paul Samasumo – Vatican City.
Right on the heels of more than 50 other non-governmental organisations, Caritas Africa has made an urgent appeal for humanitarian assistance, especially in areas across the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.
15 -16 million are at risk in Somalia, Ethiopia And Kenya
“Right now, across the Sahel and the Horn of Africa regions, many millions of people are facing drought and famine conditions. Whilst the global media and political spotlight is focused on the crisis in Ukraine, attention to the suffering of people in sub-Saharan Africa has dropped away, and support for life-saving aid efforts is woefully inadequate. An estimated 15-16 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are in need of immediate food assistance because of the drought. One woman in Northern Kenya told a Caritas diocesan staff person, as she sat metres from her livestock that had died during the drought: Many people have lost their animals. Thousands of animals have died. There is no water for my family and me. Out of almost 300 goats, I have none. All died,” said a statement from Caritas Africa.
Humanitarian aid is grossly underfunded
Caritas Africa says humanitarian aid efforts are massively underfunded. “With the exception of the US Government, other major donors have not yet stepped forward to increase their support,” reads the Caritas Africa statement.
According to Caritas Africa, “Inadequate global funding for the drought and famine response is compounded by the impacts of the war in Ukraine on the global food supply chain; coming on top of the conflict, forced displacement and Covid19 in the affected countries. Kenya and Burkina Faso buy 30%, Ethiopia 40% and Somalia 90% of their wheat from Russia or Ukraine. Increases in fuel prices are also impacting on food production, with small-scale farmers especially impacted.”
Save the Children also raising the alarm
Among those also raising the alarm is Save the Children, Echoing similar sentiment, the organisation said severe drought compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, desert locusts, and now a surge in food and commodity prices due to the conflict in Ukraine have worsened what was already a bad situation.
Save the Children warns that the number of those on the verge of starvation “could rise to 20 million by the middle of 2022 if the rains continue to fail, prices rise further, and without significant funds for those in crisis. In Somalia alone, over half a million people have already fled their homes in search of food and water since the start of 2022. Even in the best-case scenario with above-average rains, it would take months for people to recover. As many as 11 million people would face severe food shortages in drought-affected areas through September 2022.”