Catastrophic drought in Horn of Africa wreaking havoc
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that the number of children who are suffering from the most severe drought conditions across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia has increased two times in last five months. The UN organization has highlighted that around 20.2 million children are struggling of severe hunger, thirst and disease – as compared to 10 million in July – this being a direct impact of climate change, conflict, global inflation and food shortages in the region.
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A combination of crises have doubled the number of children at risk of hunger, thirst and disease in the Horn of Africa.
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“While collective and accelerated efforts have mitigated some of the worst impact of what had been feared, children in the Horn of Africa are still facing the most severe drought in more than two generations”, stated UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Lieke van de Wiel.
UNICEF has further noted that about two million children across Horn of Africa nations of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are projected to be in dire need of urgent intervention and treatment for severe acute malnutrition. Lack of clean drinking water too is impacting at least 24 million people in the region. Drought has led to internal displacement of over two million people and dropped approximately 2.7 million children from school, with risk of an additional four million dropping out.
“Humanitarian assistance must be continued to save lives and build the resilience of the staggering number of children and families who are being pushed to the edge – dying from hunger and disease and being displaced in search of food, water and pasture for their livestock”, said Ms. van de Wiel. “We need a global effort to mobilize resources urgently to reduce further devastating and irreversible damage to children in the Horn of Africa”, continued the senior UNICEF official.
Towards supporting the people in region from drought impact, UNICEF’s 2023 emergency appeal of $759 million is aimed to extend support to children and their families. The timely funding will especially be towards education, water and sanitation, and child protection.