Malnutrition and Food Security Crisis in the Horn of Africa
- Posted to Action Against Hunger
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With the complete failure of the late 2010 rainy season and its related harvests, and the inadequate, erratic arrival of the 2011 season, rainfall averages have been well below 30% of the 1995-2010 averages in some areas of northern Kenya, with disastrous consequences for subsistence farmers and livestock holders. Livestock mortality rates have reached between 15-30% across the region, with some areas registering highs of 40-60%; staple cereal prices, meanwhile, have remained much higher than last year—100% higher, by some estimates—and are approaching, or have exceeded, record levels.
With conditions already critical for millions of people, and with dire forecasts for the remainder of this year—crippled harvests, quickly depleting sources of water and pasture land, the continuation of high prices for food, water and fuel—this massive humanitarian crisis will only grow in scale and severity unless immediate measures are taken to scale up relief efforts.
Somalia has been particularly affected, with one third of its population—more than 2.85 million people—in need of humanitarian assistance. This year’s rainfall is 60% below average, resulting in significant livestock losses and the widespread destruction of crops. The resulting increase in food prices has aggravated the situation: staple food prices have risen by 50% over the past year as families struggle to feed themselves, and an estimated one in three children now suffers from acute malnutrition in some regions.
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that some 1.46 million Somalis are now displaced, fleeing the effects of drought and conflict. An estimated 80% of these individuals live in areas inaccessible to the humanitarian community, given Somalia’s difficult security conditions, but some 60,000 have fled to neighboring countries, with more arriving every day. Kenya currently hosts the largest number of Somali refugees, including 30,000 in camps in Dadaab in the country’s northeast, with 1,300 newly displaced people arriving every day since June 19th.
We need your help to continue to provide assistance to all of these affected groups. Please donate now - and at least take a moment to spread this message to your networks. Thank you!