WFP steps up support for millions ‘can’t wait’ for food aid amid drought in Horn of Africa |

The region has been hit by a historic drought caused by four consecutive rains. The crisis has left some behind 22 million people Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are struggling to find enough food and numbers are expected to increase.

Livestock are dying and there are critical water and food shortages. More than a million people have fled their homes and are now living in overcrowded camps, where humanitarian workers are scrambling to meet the overwhelming need.

No end in sight

WFP chief David Beasley on Thursday concluded a visit to Somalia, where the risk of famine is high.

More than seven million people there, almost half of the populationare acutely food insecure and 213,000 are already facing starvation-like conditions.

Mr Beasley traveled to the southern city of Baardheere where he met families, including malnourished children and their mothers, who have been forced to leave their homes and travel long distances to seek humanitarian aid amid the ongoing conflict.

“People here have been waiting for rain for years – but they can wait no longer for life-saving food aid. The world must act now to protect the most vulnerable communities from the threat of widespread famine in the Horn of Africa,” he said.

“So there is no end in sight to this drought crisis We must procure the resources needed to save lives and prevent people from plunging into catastrophic levels of hunger and starvation.”.

Food and cash assistance

WFP said the drought is expected to continue in the coming months A fifth bad rainy season is forecast later this year.

The agency is doing everything it can to support those most at risk, but urgently needs around $418 million over the next six months to meet rising needs.

Meanwhile, WFP is focused on using available funds to scale up aid in the hardest-hit areas. It aims to reach around 8.5 million people across the region, up from 6.3 million at the start of the year.

Employees provide families with food and cash, in addition to distributing fortified foods to women and children as malnutrition rates skyrocket. Cash grants and insurance programs also help households buy food to keep their livestock alive or to compensate them if they die.

support for Somalia

In this regard, US$10 million has been allocated from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to accelerate drought response in Somalia.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Griffiths warned Friday that people in the country are running out of time.

“If we don’t come into force now, it will go out and the malnourished children are likely to die first,” he said.

“This new funding will help humanitarian organizations deploy supplies and personnel as quickly as possible to avert another disaster in Somalia. But it’s not a solution. We need all hands on deck and all resources mobilized to prevent famine“.

CERF has contributed a total of US$41 million to Somalia’s drought response so far this year.

The funds were used to support food and nutritional interventions and to provide health care, water and sanitation, shelter, shelter and education to those in need.

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