Urgent Action Required to Prevent Major Food Crisis in Eastern Africa: Int’l Organizations

Addis Ababa  The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and World Food Program (WFP) called for an immediate action to prevent a major food crisis in Eastern Africa.

In their joint statement issued on Tuesday,  the organizations said that the region faces an unprecedented triple threat to food security caused by the combined effects of recent severe floods, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and an upsurge of desert locusts.

There is also an increased risk of below-average rains during the upcoming October to December season which could further threaten food security and livelihoods across the region, the statement  added.

It further stated that an estimated 9 million children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition, including 2 million facing severe acute malnutrition across the region.

The IGAD region is also one of the world’s leading sources and hosts of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees and asylum seekers who, due to limited livelihood opportunities and degraded coping mechanisms, are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity and malnutrition.

“In this context of already high levels of food insecurity, the current triple threat facing vulnerable populations across Eastern Africa is expected to drive significant food security deterioration in the absence of urgent action that protects lives and livelihoods, strengthens food systems, builds resilience across all vulnerable communities, and improves early warning systems and preparedness,” the organizations warned.

According to the statement, as of 22 July 2020, the additional humanitarian requirements, on top of government resources, for food security, nutrition and livelihood support are 3.4 billion USD for seven IGAD Member States (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda).

However, it added, these requirements are just 33 percent funded, leaving a funding gap of 2.3 billion USD.

 

Source: Ethiopia News Agency