As the threat of famine looms in the Horn of Africa, the World Food Programme (WFP) has announced scaling up of its operations to support millions going hungry who “cannot wait” for assistance.
The region is in the grip of a historic drought, brought on by four consecutive failed rains. The crisis has left some 22 million people across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia struggling to find enough to eat, with numbers expected to rise.
Livestock are dying, and there are critical shortages of water and food. More than a million people have fled their homes and are now living in crowded camps, where humanitarians are scrambling to meet the overwhelming needs.
WFP chief David Beasley wrapped up a visit to Somalia, where the risk of famine is high. More than seven million people there, nearly half the population, are acutely food insecure, and 213,000 are already facing famine-like conditions.
“People here have been waiting years for rain – but they cannot wait any longer for life-saving food assistance. The world needs to act now to protect the most vulnerable communities from the threat of widespread famine in the Horn of Africa,” he said.
“There is still no end in sight to this drought crisis, so we must get the resources needed to save lives and stop people plunging into catastrophic levels of hunger and starvation”.
WFP said it is doing everything possible to support the most vulnerable people, but urgently requires around $418 million over the next six months to meet the increasing needs.
Meanwhile, it is focused on using available funds to increase assistance in the worst-hit areas. The aim is to target some 8.5 million people across the region, up from 6.3 million at the start of the year.