Food experts call for effective livelihood support for areas affected by abnormal seasonal rainfall
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “Poor rains across East Africa have worsened hunger and left crops scorched, pastures dry and thousands of livestock dead.”
This alarm was raised yesterday, 14th of July in response to the worrisome situation being witnessed by affected communities. It is revealed in the press release that, “The most affected areas are central and southern Somalia, southeastern Ethiopia, northern and eastern Kenya, northern Tanzania and northeastern and southwestern Uganda.” These areas are said to have received less than half of their normal seasonal rainfall.
The report explained that: “FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) warns that the third consecutive failed rainy season has seriously eroded families’ resilience, and urgent and effective livelihood support is required.
According to Dominique Burgeon, the Director of Emergencies for FAO, “This is the third season in a row that families have had to endure failed rains – they are simply running out of ways to cope. Support is needed now before the situation rapidly deteriorates further.”
As at the time of the compilation of reports, “The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the five aforementioned countries, currently estimated at about 16 million.” This is an increment of about 30 percent since late 2016. Also, “In Somalia, almost half of the total population is food insecure.”
No doubt, “Timely humanitarian assistance has averted famine so far but must be sustained” because “Conditions across the region are expected to further deteriorate in the coming months with the onset of the dry season and an anticipated early start of the lean season.”
This, as a matter of fact is the reason why “The food security situation for pastoralists is of particular concern.” For instance, in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, where animal mortality rates are high, milk production from the surviving animals is currently witnessing a shape decline with negative consequences on food security and nutrition.
Burgeon, in his remarks noted that if only “…we know how critical milk is for the healthy development of children aged under five, and the irreversible damage its lack can create,” then, we will understand exactly why “supporting pastoralists going through this drought is essential.”
Correspondent: Ridwan A. Adelaja