Food supplies of wheat are distributed during a visit by World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Director Michael Dunford to a camp for the internally-displaced in Adadle, in the Somali Region of Ethiopia Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022.AP
People in a region including Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya face the driest conditions recorded since 1981, the agency reported Tuesday, calling for immediate assistance to forestall a major humanitarian crisis.
Drought conditions are affecting pastoral and farming communities across southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, south-eastern and northern Kenya, and south-central Somalia. Malnutrition rates are high in the region.
WFP said it needs $327 million to look after the urgent needs of 4.5 million people over the next six months and help communities become more resilient to extreme climate shocks.
``Three consecutive failed rainy seasons have decimated crops and caused abnormally high livestock deaths,'' it said in a statement. ``Shortages of water and pasture are forcing families from their homes and leading to increased conflict between communities.''
More forecasts of below-average rainfall threaten to worsen conditions in the coming months, it said.
Others have raised alarm over a fragile region that also faces sporadic armed violence.
The UN children's agency said earlier in February that more than 6 million people in Ethiopia are expected to need urgent humanitarian aid by mid-March. In neighboring Somalia, more than 7 million people need urgent help, according to the Somali NGO Consortium.