See also:
» 18.12.2009 - EU allocates €50 million for drought-affected Horn of Africa people
» 19.11.2009 - Spain doubles aid for Horn of Africa
» 21.09.2009 - Horn of Africa facing severe food insecurity, FAO
» 25.08.2009 - WFP appeals for urgent assistance for Kenya
» 19.05.2009 - EU awards €54 million to Horn of Africa
» 08.05.2009 - UNICEF warns Horn of Africa’s children at risk from triple threat
» 14.04.2009 - Somaliland lash on Eritrea interference in Horn of Africa
» 23.09.2008 - UK announces £42 million for Horn of Africa

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Horn of Africa
Economy - Development | Agriculture - Nutrition | Human rights | Society

Drought induced crisis looming in the Horn of Africa

afrol News, 26 August - The UN humanitarian wing has reported that a critical water shortage in Ethiopia’s Somali region is threatening the health of the local communities who are being forced to use abandoned ponds and wells for drinking water, which may increase the risk of water-borne diseases.

Regional authorities and humanitarian partners appealled for a resumption of emergency water tankering interventions to avert a further deterioration of the situation, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

The water shortage in Warder, Gode, Afder, Shinille and Degehabur areas of the region is expected to continue until the next rainy season in mid-October.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the prolonged drought’s impact on livestock has been compounded by the migration into Ethiopia of unusually large herds of cattle, camels, goats and sheep from drought-hit areas of neighbouring Somalia and Kenya.

Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its partners are continuing to help roll out a targeted feeding programme by providing technical assistance and supplies.

In recent weeks, the agency has dispatched 47 metric tons of ready-to-use therapeutic feeding to health bureaus – enough to treat 4,447 children for one month.

A deadly mix of persistent drought, conflict and the high cost of food are threatening millions of lives in the Horn of Africa, with the global financial crisis intensifying the danger and desperation across the region, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned last month.

Already short on funding, WFP is feeding over 17 million people in the East African region, with numbers expected to rise in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, northern Uganda and Djibouti in the coming months.

“We are knocking on the door of a major regional crisis,” said Ramiro Lopes da Silva, WFP's Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa.

“Millions of people across the region are seeing their lives spiral steadily downwards as this frightening confluence of factors - all beyond their control - pushes them closer to destitution,” stressed Mr Lopes da Silva.

On top of the mounting humanitarian crisis, WFP is suffering a funding shortfall of almost $450 million needed to continue feeding the hungry in the region for the next six months.

Urging donors to step forward quickly and generously before it is too late, Mr Lopes da Silva said that WFP have reached millions by using “our limited resources intelligently and creatively, but there is no disguising the worrying gaps in our budget for our operations in the Horn.”

WFP said that humanitarian assistance is vital for people who are struggling to survive as they sell off assets in a bid to pull through the successive years of drought and conflict, combined with the high price of food on local markets.

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