Agencies call for sustained humanitarian efforts to curb drought in Horn of Africa
A herd of cows were seen in the town of Laisamis, Marsabit County, Kenya, Aug. 27, 2022. (Xinhua/Dong Jianghui)
Sustained humanitarian efforts are urgently needed to tackle severe drought which is ravaging the Horn of Africa region, meteorological agencies and humanitarian partners said.
NAIROBI, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — Sustained humanitarian efforts are urgently needed to tackle severe drought which is ravaging the Horn of Africa region, meteorological agencies and humanitarian partners said.
“It is therefore imperative to take a ‘no regrets’ response and act now to mitigate the deepening crisis,” the agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WTO), said in a joint alert issued Thursday evening in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
The agencies said the Horn of Africa is facing a record three-year drought, with catastrophic humanitarian impacts, warning that the occurrence of another poor rainy season between March-May 2023, as forecast by some meteorological agencies, would have devastating consequences for communities.
According to the agencies, humanitarian needs will remain high in 2023 regardless of seasonal performance, requiring high assistance levels to prevent further deterioration and save lives.
This photo shows a man and a herd of cows in the sandstorms in the town of Laisamis, Marsabit County, Kenya, Aug. 27, 2022. (Xinhua/Dong Jianghui)
The agencies said current model runs show a greater-than-50-percent probability of an El Nino forming during the second half of 2023, though very early forecasts carry considerable uncertainty.
“Were an El Nino to materialize, it could result in reduced rains in the highlands of Ethiopia, western Kenya, parts of South Sudan, and Sudan towards the end of the June-September season, followed by abundant rainfall over currently drought-affected areas of the Horn of Africa between October and December,” the agencies said.
The organizations said while it is very early to speculate on the performance of these later rainfall seasons, heavy rainfall in a short period could add additional shocks such as flash floods, and water-borne diseases to communities already suffering from three years of drought and, in some cases, other shocks including conflict, and high food prices.
The agencies said rebuilding herds will be a slow process for families who have lost all of their livestock. ■