Addis Ababa The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reached out to 4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in east Africa but the gap remains huge, FAO Representative to Eastern Africa and AU Chimimba David Phiri said.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, Phiri said that the Horn of Africa has been affected by five serious droughts over the past few years which is the worst in forty years.
FAO appealed for resources with a view to saving lives as well as saving livelihoods of the affected communities, he stated, and added “we have also requested funding for making sure that there is development and resilience, so that the communities do not fall into a situation where they need assistance at any point in time.”
“So this is a sign that the program is huge because we expect that as many as 26 million people need support but FAO has reached out to 4 million. Of course other agencies have reached out to others but the gap between what we have now and where we need to be is very big,” the East Africa Representative noted.
To date we have spent 120 million USD and reached nearly 4 million people with the support that we provided, Phiri added.
He stressed “we are afraid that if not all support is provided to the people in particular the affected people of Ethiopia, Kenya, parts of Uganda, Djibouti, and Somalia, we could run into a serious famine by the end of this year.”
FAO is providing feed, water and livestock vaccination against pests as well as enhancing capacity of the community to produce their own feed under serious drought conditions, it was indicated.
The crisis in the Horn of Africa is not just drought but also coupled with Russia-Ukraine war, climate, conflicts and the biggest desert locust invasion in history of Africa, he pointed out.
“So the vulnerability is already very bad and when you add the drought, it worsens that situation. So I think the international community needs to really build the resilience of the communities by providing the resources that they need, so that they can stand on their own. FAO does not itself as an organization provide food, we do provide feed to animals, but also provide livelihood’s support to them through animal or crop production and through providing them implements for sustainable agriculture, and also build capacities to make sure that they practice climate smart agriculture,” Phiri elaborated.
He called on partners to scale up their commitment in providing the resources that are required to save lives and livelihoods in eastern Africa as the demand is a lot more than what is on the ground.
Source: Ethiopian News Agency