After three years of droughts, a fourth could be detrimental for the people of Africa who have suffered without any decent rains for a while. According to the World Food Program, it is estimated that 20 million people in drought-affected parts of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia could face catastrophic levels of hunger if the region is hit with a fourth consecutive year of drought.
There are obviously geopolitical challenges and those faced with Covid-19 complications that have exasperated the situation. Economic deprivation, civil war and interference of militia are just a few reasons that have made life difficult for an agrarian lot of the Horn of Africa. Now, the World Food Program (WFP) has reported that crop failure in Ethiopia has plunged 7.2 million people into acute hunger and killed more than a million livestock.
To add to whole mayhem is the fact that even the WFP is severely underfunded. It has received merely a 13 percent of a required $370 million. Since that appeal was launched in January this year, the number of people needing help has increased, as have the costs. The WFP now requires $473 million to scale up its operations over the next six months. Malnutrition is already killing children in big numbers.
According to economists, the repercussions of the Ukraine-Russia war are being felt closely across the continent. The WFP regional director for East Africa, Michael Dunford explains the funding gap and how it will pan out in the next couple of months. “Funding gap means that WFP will have to prioritize in such a way that the prevention of malnutrition, we are now going to have to focus primarily on the treatment. And at some point, even these programs will not have sufficient funding if the current trends continue. And we will have to focus exclusively on humanitarian feeding programs.”