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East Africa is facing a climate crisis as it faces record drought

East Africa is facing a climate crisis as it faces record drought

Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia — which will be severely impacted by the reduced rains — are already in the midst of a dire famine.

A total of 29 million people in Horn of Africa are at risk of severe hunger due to the drought conditions that have plagued the region since 1981.

Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia — which will be severely impacted by the reduced rains — are already in the midst of a dire famine.
Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia — which will be severely impacted by the reduced rains — are already in the midst of a dire famine.
(Reuters)

The Horn of Africa and East Africa are bracing for the worst drought in 40 years. Authorities warn that this year’s extreme drought will be worse than in previous decades. In March and April, weather agencies recorded higher temperatures and less rainfall than usual.

According to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, rains are likely to fail for the fourth consecutive year. This could lead to increased malnutrition, threats and severe risks for 29million people living in the region. 

Meteorologists believe that the drought is being linked to human-caused global warming. This is causing an increase in Indian Ocean temperature and more frequent cyclones.

Like most of Africa, the east and the Horn’s economic mainstay is agriculture, which is rain-fed, making it vulnerable to extreme weather events.

The weather agency previously said in February that the region should prepare for a “wetter than average” long rains season, which normally pours from March to May, but the agency revised its previous forecasts this week.

“The March, April, May rains are crucial for the region and, sadly, we are looking at not just three, but potentially four consecutive failed seasons,” Workneh Gebeyehu, the executive secretary of the intergovernmental agency, said. 

“This, coupled with other stress factors such as conflicts in both our region and Europe, the impact of Covid-19, and macro-economic challenges, has led to acute levels of food insecurity across the greater Horn of Africa.”

READ MORE UN: Millions are facing severe hunger as the Horn of Africa drought worsens

Extremely dry conditions

The 2022 drought conditions will continue to be dry, with the expected precipitation below average. This is a first since 1981. 

Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia — which will be severely impacted by the reduced rains — are already in the midst of a dire famine.

Low rainfall in the short rains period late last year and continued drought during the current long-rains season have already led to crop failures, livestock deaths, high food prices, and inter-communal disputes over scarce pasture and diminishing water resources.

Aid organizations are already concerned about the future impacts of climate change on the region.

“This is not the Horn’s first drought, nor is it likely to be its last,” said Sean Granville-Ross, the regional director for Africa for the aid agency Mercy Corps. “As the climate emergency worsens, droughts will become more frequent and severe.”

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The UN humanitarian office warned last week that the current drought “risks becoming one of the worst climate induced emergencies in recent history in the Horn of Africa.” 

It also stated that the $1.5 Billion drought response appeal needed to aid some 5.5 Million Somalians remains seriously underfunded.

READ MORE Somalia desperately needs April rains to end the deadly drought season

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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